Lamb Hotpots

riginating from Lancashire in the 19th century, these are humble but heart-warming pies. 

  • Preparation time: 55 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Makes: 6-8

Ingredients

1.25kg British lamb neck fillet, trimmed of excess fat and sinew and cut into 3-4cm chunks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 onions, sliced
60g unsalted butter
3 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks
3 tbsp plain flour
4 bay leaves
½ x 20g pack thyme, leaves picked, plus 6-8 extra sprigs
6 lambs’ kidneys (optional) halved, white core removed, cut into 2 cm chunks and soaked in milk overnight
500ml fresh chicken or lamb stock
1.5kg maris piper or other floury potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 

Method

1 Pat the lamb chunks dry on kitchen paper, coat in the oil and season. Heat a large casserole or heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and fry (in batches if necessary), turning until browned, for about 10-12 minutes; set aside.

2 Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Add the onions to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 30g butter and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until soft and starting to caramelise. Toss in the carrots, lamb and resting juices, flour, bay and thyme leaves and kidneys (if using). Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer briskly for 5 minutes, scraping the base of the pan to incorporate any sticky bits. Season and set aside.

3 Cover the bases of your dishes (use earthenware pie dishes or foil containers) with a layer of sliced potato. Next, divide the lamb mixture between them and top with the remaining potato; you want at least a double layer on top of each. Melt the remaining 30g butter and brush over the potato.

4 Cover each dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, until a small knife is easily inserted. Uncover, add a picked thyme sprig to each and cook for a final 45-55 minutes, until golden. Serve, with pickled beetroot or red cabbage and some steamed greens, if liked.