Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Hill lamb hotpot
Returning from high summer in Oz to the weirdest of weather back home in Bristol (this morning we had hail, thunder and bright sun, all in the space of five minutes) I feel the need for comfort food and can't think of a better option than a hotpot. Unfortunately I'm unlikely to have time to cook one until the weekend but thought you might fancy trying it too.
The recipe is from my book Meat and Two Veg and the very professional photo not by moi but the talented Jason Lowe. It's not authentic - no self-respecting Lancastrian would use something as poncey as white wine - but it is very tasty especially if you make it with hill or rare breed lamb. (How frugal that is of course depends where you live and whether you can source it direct from a farmer or farmers' market.)
The white pepper does make a difference with this kind of old-fashioned dish so do use it if you've got some.
6 lamb shoulder chops (about 750-800g)
2 level tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp vegetable or light olive oil
3 medium to large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 450g)
1 large carrot (about 125g), peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium turnip (about 110g) peeled and thinly sliced
750g waxy red potatoes (e.g. Desiree)
125ml dry white wine (e.g. basic French vin blanc, muscadet, pinot grigio)
300ml chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground white pepper
You will need a large round or oval lidded casserole
Trim any excess fat off the chops and pat them dry with kitchen towel. Put the flour into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the chops into the flour, lightly coating both sides. Heat a large frying pan, add 2 tbsp of the oil and 15g of the butter. Once the butter has melted brown the chops on both sides (about 2 minutes a side) and set aside. Add the sliced onions to the oil and butter mixture and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the sliced carrot and turnip and any remaining flour, stir well and set aside. Peel and finely slice the potatoes.
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Pour the remaining oil in the casserole and wipe it round the base and sides. Put a good layer of sliced potato in the base of the casserole then a layer of vegetables, seasoning each layer lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops on top and tuck in the bayleaves. Tip over the rest of the vegetables spreading them out evenly then arrange the rest of the potato slices on top.
Heat the wine and stock in the frying pan and pour carefully over the hotpot. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan and pour it over the potato slices. Cover the casserole and place in the oven for about 25 minutes until bubbling gently.
Turn the heat down to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and cook for a further two hours, spooning the juices over the potatoes half way through.
Turn up the heat back up to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6, remove the lid from the casserole and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are well browned. Serve with something green and leafy like brussel tops.