Today, like the rest of the week, has been blustery cold and I’ve yet to regain feeling in my fingers and toes since stepping outside this morning. Needless to say ‘warming’ and ‘comforting’ were high on the criteria for supper tonight and a Lancashire Hotpot was just the ticket. This frugal dish consists of a lamb and onion stew topped with layers of potatoes, slow-cooked in a low oven until meltingly tender, and will quickly thaw you out in these icy conditions. You’ll be amazed by how incredibly such a seemingly humble dish tastes (especially when paired with something like a 1999 Vosne Romanée from Burgundy as we did). Serve with buttered carrots or red cabbage, if you’re a traditionalist.
350g (0.8lb) diced lamb (choose a cut with a bit of fat)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm thick slices
60g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
4 onions, thinly sliced
125ml (1/2 cup) red wine
freshly ground black pepper
25g (3 tbsp) plain flour
pinch white pepper
2 tsp sea salt
pinch of sugar
Preheat the oven to 140°C (285°F).
Season the diced lamb with the sugar, 1/2 tsp of the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dust with the flour and arrange in the base of an ovenproof dish – we used a round one, 18cm (7 inches) in diameter.
Heat 1/4 (15g) of the butter in pan on a medium-low flame until it foams, then add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for a couple of minutes until softened (take care to not colour them too much). Add the red wine and simmer until the wine has evaporated. Place the cooked onions in an even layer above the lamb pieces.
In a small bowl place the potato slices with another 1/4 (15g) of the melted butter, the remaining salt and the white pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange in one layer over the onions in a nice pattern, letting them overlap as necessary.
Cover the hotpot with a heavy lid and cook in the preheated oven for two hours.
Remove the hotpot and increase the oven temperature to 170°C (338°F). Brush the potatoes with the remaining melted butter, then return to the oven to cook uncovered for another 30 minutes, until lovely and golden.
Serve bubbling hot from the oven with your choice of veg and a good bottle of Pinot Noir.