Lamb hotpot

Another vintage phone call, this time with Louise.  ‘We’ve just put a hotpot in the oven’, she said happily. ‘How do you make hotpot?’ I asked.  And she told me.

  • Ingredients: 4 lamb chops, shoulder steaks or thick slices of leg. One large onion, 2 leeks, 2 carrots, 2 potatoes, 500ml stock, a handful of fresh marjoram/oregano/thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil.
  • Alternative ingredients: Celery, mushrooms, turnip, swede, garlic, bay leaf. Small glass of red wine.
  • Method: Set the oven to 175°C. Wash all the vegetables.  Peel the ones which need peeiling. Slice them.  Brown the chops in a deep non stick pan.  If not using chops you may need to add a little oil here.  After 10 minutes remove the chops onto a plate covered with a piece of kitchen paper to soak up excess fat.  Season them with salt and pepper.  Clean the pan and add a fresh tablespoonfull of olive oil. Sauté the leeks and onions (celery and garlic too if using) until melting.   Remove half of these and place them at the bottom of a small (20cm) deep casserole dish.  Back at the frying pan, if you are using mushrooms, add half now and stir around for a minute or two.  Then add a handful of chopped fresh herbs, a small glass of red wine (optional) and 500ml stock (this can be home made or a stock cube and water).  Bring to the boil and switch off.

Return to the casserole and its layer of oniony leeks.  Follow this with a layer of potatoes then carrots. In this way use up all the vegetables save one sliced potato,  Arrange the meat on top of the layers of vegetables and pour over the contents of the pan, it should just reach the meat.  Then overlap the discs of potato around the casserole, leaving an uncovered circle in the centre.

Cover the casserole with a heavy lid and bake for at least 90 minutes, then remove the lid and continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes or until the potatoes are browned.  Serve with a green vegetable.

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