1 1/2pounds(680g) potatoespeeled and sliced to 2-3mm thick (floury potatoes such as maris pipers work best)
1tbspmelted butter for brushing
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F
Melt the butter and vegetable oil in a medium sized casserole or sauce pan and fry the lamb pan until lightly browned all over (about 3-4 minutes). Spoon the lamb into a bowl, then add the onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.
Add the lamb back in, then stir in the flour, cooking for a minute. Add in the stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Give everything a stir, bring to a gently bubble. Then place a lid on it and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, stir in the carrots. At this point, you can transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole or pie dish if you wish (I moved mine to a 25cm diameter pie dish). Top with the sliced potatoes. Start from the outside, and layer the potatoes, moving towards the centre.
Brush the top of the potatoes with the melted butter and sprinkle on the dried thyme. Cover with a lid or foil and place back in the oven for 1 hour.
After an hour, turn the oven up to 200c/400f and remove the lid. Cook for a further 30 minutes until the potatoes are browned and crisp on top.
Take out of the oven, and leave to rest for 5 minutes or so (it will be very hot), then serve with some green veg.
Cut of Lamb:
You're looking for a cut of lamb with a little fat. Fat (not gristle) really helps to give this hotpot lots of lovely flavours. Diced lamb neck is perfect, as it has little streaks of fat running through it. Diced lamb shoulder or leg will also work. If you want to use ready-diced lamb, that's fine too - just make sure it's a little fatty.
Gluten Free Lancashire Hotpot:
Use gluten-free stock cubes in your stock and gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour. Also, check your Worcestershire sauce brand and use a gluten-free version if necessary. If is contains malt vinegar, it's not gluten free. Biona do a good gluten free version.
Cook the Lancashire hotpot right up until the end of stage 5 (where it's been in the oven for an hour with the lid/foil on). Then remove from the oven, cool, cover and refrigerate for a day or two. Take out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you want to heat it - to take the chill off. Then place in the oven at 170C/325F for 20 minutes with the lid/foil on. Then turn up the oven to 200C/400F, take the lid/foil off and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and crisp and the hotpot is piping hot throughout.
Can I freeze Lancashire hotpot?
Yes, cook the Lancashire hotpot right up until the end of stage 5 (where it's been in the oven for an hour with the lid/foil on). Then remove from the oven, cool, cover and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator, then take out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you want to heat it - to take the chill off. Then place in the oven at 170C/325F for 20 minutes with the lid/foil on. Then turn up the oven to 200C/400F, take the lid/foil off and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and crisp and the hotpot is piping hot throughout.
Doubling the recipe:
If you're cooking for a crowd, you can double this recipe. Double all of the ingredients and an extra tablespoon of flour at step 3. You'll need to use a very large casserole dish or baking tin so that the thickness of the casserole remains the same as with the smaller version. Cook for an extra 30 minutes at step 5. The rest of the cooking time should be approximately the same.
Can I make it in the slow cooker?
You can make it in the slow cooker, but you won't get that all-important crispy potato topping - the potato will stay soft. If you wanted to do that anyway, brown the lamb in a frying pan and transfer to the slow cooker. Then soften the onion, stir in the flour, stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper and carrots. Bring to the boil and transfer to the slow cooker. Stir together and layer the potatoes on top. Brush on the butter and sprinkle on the thyme, then cook on low for 5-6 hours, until the lamb and potatoes are tender.Nutritional Information is per serving.