A simple, inexpensive dish, Lancashire hotpot is a type of dish from the county of the same name. Similar to Irish stew, it consists of meat, potatoes, onions, and anything else that the cook wishes to include. Given that it is often cheaply prepared with whatever is on hand, it is a popular dish to serve at gatherings with large groups of people in attendance.
Frequently served as pub fare, Lancashire hotpot is often served with a flavorful, buttered slice of potato or pastry. This tasty addition serves as a covering to keep the meal hot. The dish is normally served in an aesthetically pleasing pottery dish, which is why the food is known as a hotpot stew.
Any meats may be included in Lancashire hotpot, as well as a vegetable mixture. In addition to the traditional inclusion onions and potatoes, chefs may include leeks, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and any other fresh vegetables desired. Cheese, beetroot, or pickled red cabbage may be served alongside the meal.
Some traditional recipes also call for lamb's kidneys and lard. These ingredients can be replaced with whatever meats and stocks the chef prefers. Olive oil and Worcestershire sauce are also often included in Lancashire hotpot. Salt and pepper are almost always added; other common ingredients include butter and thyme.
To brew a steamy batch of Lancashire hotpot, a chef can combine any meats and spices desired with potatoes, onions, and a complementary stock. The pot should be filled as full as possible. Mutton or lamb is a traditional meat to use, though many chefs prefer beef. The mixture is cooked in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit (160° Celsius) for at least two hours and served hot. For recipes without any or much stock, a cover may be used to increase moisture.
Prior to preparing the stew, any meats should be cooked on the stove top. The same can be done with any root vegetables, for added succulence and flavor, if preferred. For a very tender stew, the dish may be cooked over the course of a full day. Some recipes include oysters, which can be added to create a more sophisticated dish.
Pop culture has another meaning for this phrase. The Lancashire Hotpots is a name for an English comedy folk band. Using a Lancashire dialect, the band performs music about British culture and other topics. The phrase has also been utilized in many films as a reference to British food and culture.