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How to cook Lancashire hotpot

Originating from the former cotton mill climbs of Lancashire county, where comfort food comes a plenty -- the Lancashire Hot Pot is a popular comfort food, particularly during the winter months in the UK. Differing from its friend of the same name, the heated pot from England's north-west stands out for being lamb, not beef-based. Read on to learn how to make this hearty dinner from home.

"Hold tight lad and think of Lancashire Hot Pot."

Wallace, from Wallace and Gromit.

Preparation

Prepare your workspace with two separate chopping boards: one for the meat and one for the vegetables.

Step one: Rinse the lamb kidneys under cold water and lay them out on one of the chopping boards. Trim off the fat and slice them up.

Step two: With the lamb meat, removing bones if necessary (see Resources for a guide to buying lamb), rinse and trim off excess fat. Cut into chunks.

Step three: On your other chopping board – peel the potatoes, onions and carrots. Slice them up, and put them into separate bowls on the side, clearing your work area of peels.

Step four: Boil water in the kettle and pour into a glass jug. Put in stock cubes and stir until completely dissolved. Leave on the side until needed.

Step five: Melt all of the butter in pan on the hob or in a bowl in the microwave and leave ready to use last.

Putting it all together and cooking

Lancashire hot pot requires slow cooking on a mid-heat (about an hour and a half), to ensure all of the flavours blend together and everything cooks nicely. Preheat the oven to about 150°C (300°F/gas mark 3) while you put everything else together.

Step one: In a large pan heat olive oil, adding in the garlic and after a few minutes, the onions. Once they’re a little brown, add the carrots until soft.

Step two: Sprinkle in the flour mixing it in slowly, adding all of the stock on a low heat and stirring carefully.

Step four: Next, add the lamb meat, bay leaves and sprinkle some Worcestershire sauce. Stir for a couple of minutes -- on low heat still -- and even out.

Step five: Now is the time to get everything inside the casserole dish correctly. Carefully pour all of the mixture into the casserole dish. Arrange the potatoes neatly in layered rows on top of the meat and drizzle over three quarters of the melted butter.

Step six: Cover with lid with put the dish in the oven. Leave to cook for an hour and a half.

Step seven: After that time, check the readiness of the potatoes – drizzle the rest of the butter on top and leave in oven until the potatoes brown.

Step eight: Switch off oven and serve for guzzling. If not, serve up, allow to cool and store it in the freezer for warming up possible future cold, hungry nights. Stores for a month.

Ingredients

900 g (2 lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced 900 g (2 lb) stewing lamb (lamb shank or lamb shoulder or half a leg of lamb) 500 ml (17 fl oz) lamb or chicken stock (2 stock cubes) 100 g (4 oz) butter 25 g (1 oz) plain flour 3 lamb kidneys 2 medium onions 3 cloves garlic 3 large carrots Olive oil Bay leaves (fresh or dried) 5 ml (2 tsp) Worcestershire sauce

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About the Author

Mel Henderson has been a culture and politics writer since 2009. She earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Portsmouth. She has contributed to a diverse set of publications both in English and Spanish, including the "Argentina Independent," "Buenos Aires Herald," Ambito.com, thebubble.com.ar, themusicstop.wordpress.com and various other newspapers and blogs.