Well today is Lancashire day, a celebration of all things Northern and what is more Northern than a good old fashioned hotpot?! I know I will definitely be having one for dinner tonight! Yum!
For those of you who don’t know, the humble hotpot actually has its origins in the Lancashire cotton industry. As a quick and simple dish to prepare with long slow cooking, the story goes that female mill workers would prepare the dinner in the morning, place the Hotpot in the range ovens and many hours later it would be ready when the family returned home.
Now that is what I call time utilisation, well done ladies!
However, others do suggest that it was a dish prepared for the pit workers to take to the mines wrapped in a blanket where it would keep toasty and hot, making a nourishing lunch in the cold and difficult conditions underground.
The farming community maintain that it was a family dish often eaten by shepherds on the moors with the same principle as the miners.
Whatever the true tale, it is plain to see that with its hard working background, this hearty dish has helped form the backbone of the Lancashire we know today.
Legend also has it that a Lancashire woman’s prowess in hotpot making determined her marriage prospects so to help all you single ladies out there, here is my very own Granny Joan’s Hotpot recipe – best get baking girls!
½ lb. stewing beef
1 large onion
3 and 1/2 potatoes
½ beef stock
Rosemary and Salt & Pepper to taste.
Preheat your oven at 160˚C
Start by browning the meat in a drop of oil, just to steal it.
Once browned remove this and put into a bowl.
Brown the onion. Add the carrot and potato, cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.
Put meat and veg into the pot and add the stock (and Rosemary). Stir well.
Place the pot in the oven and leave for 2 hours.
In the meantime thinly slice your remaining potato for the the topping and lightly fry them for a few minutes.
Upon taking it out, stir it up and make sure everything is cooked, add salt & pepper to taste.
Let it cool.
Top with a layer of potato slices layered over one another (you may alternatively use short crust pastry) and put back into the oven for 20 minutes until the potatoes (or pastry) is golden and crisp.
Serve with pickled red cabbage or beetroot.