If you’ve never made a Hotpot at home then you are depriving yourself of one of the best one pot dinners the British Isles has ever given birth to. It’s just got everything; crispy butterglazed potato, succulent slow cooked lamb, sweet stewed veg (in my version) and a richly flavoured stew-like gravy which spreads across your plate like a lava of Lancashire loveliness.
I add beer to my version (who’d have guessed) but make sure you go for something fairly light, with a nice clean malty flavour like you get with pale English Brown Bitters. Personally I think Marstons Pedigree is the perfect choice. A stronger beer such as a stout or porter would just completely drown out the delicate flavour of the lamb and herbs, and anything too hoppy won’t cook out well at all.
I’ll also warn the purists that this is my version of a Hotpot, it’s not meant to be rigorously traditional or definitive, it’s meant to be tasty. Hence the addition of the Pale Ale, Root Veg, and Fish Sauce which adds an extra layer of savouriness and seasoning but not a hint of fishiness to the flavoursome sauce.
To make this you’ll need:
- 600g of Stewing Lamb (Neck end or shoulder)
- 400ml of Pedigree Pale Ale (and more for drinking)
- 300ml Water
- 2 Onions (One sliced, one roughly chopped)
- Roughly 6 Large sliced Potatoes (I like to use red ones)
- 1 Large Parsnip (Chopped)
- 1 Large Carrot (Chopped)
- 1 Clove Garlic (Chopped)
- Sprig of Fresh Rosemary (Leaves only, chopped)
- Sprig of Fresh Thyme (Leaves Only)
- 1 Chicken Stock Cube (I use Knorr)
- 1 Beef Stock Cube (I use Oxo)
- 2 Tsp Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce
- 1 Tsp Fish Sauce
- Butter, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
How to make my Lancashire Lamb Hotpot with Pedigreee Pale Ale
In a large oven proof casserole dish (a 22cm cast iron Le Creuset is always my weapon of choice) sear the diced Lamb in a large knob of butter and a good glug of olive oil on a medium-high heat. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and transfer to a separate large bowl once well browned.
Throw in the onions, parsnip and carrot and fry until lightly browned then add the garlic and herbs and fry for another few minutes.
Add a heaped tablespoon of plain flour to the veg and stir well to coat, before deglazing the pan with the water, scraping any sticky bits from the bottom. Let it boil down a little then add the beer and crumble in the two stock cubes, season well with salt and pepper, and simmer on a low heat while you slice the potatoes. (Which by the way I never bother peeling, life’s too short and it helps them hold together.)
Tip the veg and liquid into the large bowl with the meat and combine well.
To assemble the hotpot use a slotted spoon to lift half the meat and veg into the bottom of the pan, leaving the liquid in the bowl.
Next add a double layer of sliced potatoes, then the rest of the meat and veg on top of that.
Then pour over the liquid until it is just below the top of the meat and veg mixture before topping with a layer of sliced potatoes (If you have any liquid left keep this for extra gravy). Season well with salt and pepper, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in a preheated oven at 170-180*C for 1hr30mins.
After the slow cook remove the lid, add some knobs of butter to the top of the hotpot and return to the oven uncovered for another 30 minutes until the top is golden and slightly crisp like the photo at the top. (You may need to crank the oven up for the last 5-10 min.
with buttered green veg (I like kale) and a large glass of beer for everybody that’s eating.
The beer adds a lot to this one pot wonder but because of the use of the relatively lightly flavoured Pedigree Pale Ale it doesn’t come out like a bastardised steak and ale pie - for which a darker, stronger beer would be better suited – and doesn’t have an overpowering ale flavour to it.
Serving the beer alongside is an obvious but perfect match, i
t’s got a malty body but isn’t too sweet and with a lightly hoppy finish it awakens your palate ready for the slightly sweet/savouriness of the hotpot.
I'd be the first to admit that this hotpot with a glass of Pedigree is beer and food matching for dummies, but damn it tastes good.