I’m sure everyone knows the background to the famous
I looked up various recipes for Lancashire Hotpot, which I remember from my childhood in
If you haven’t got chops that will stand on their ends any other manageable cut of lamb or mutton will do fine. And this is a hearty dish so you shouldn’t be using your best olive oil for it – dripping is the thing.
Melt the dripping in a pan and fry a sliced onion until soft.
Put the onion in the bottom of a crock with a bay leaf.
Brown the meat on either side and add to the crock.
Add kidney if you are using it, then a sliced carrot and some sliced mushrooms. Season as you go.
Make a gravy by adding a spoonful of flour to the fat in the pan and stirring in about a pint of brown stock.
Arrange sliced potatoes over the top of the meat and vegetables and pour the gravy over. Finally sprinkle a teaspoonful of sugar over the potatoes and put to cook slowly in a medium oven for a couple of hours.
15 minutes before the end of the cooking time take the lid off and allow the potatoes to brown.
I don’t know why this dish works so well cooked this way, but it does. Mutton would be better than lamb but lamb is good. Don’t be tempted to do anything any more fancy than the above – no garlic, no rosemary, just salt and pepper, and that final scatter of sugar. The correct thing to serve with it is a dish or a glass jar of pickled red cabbage. Which I don't happen to have about me.