Lancashire Hotpot: Hearty Dish Puts Hair on Your Eyebrows

Lancashire Hotpot
Hotpot! Thanks to BBC Good Food for this image.

Here’s a reet proper Northern dish that’ll put hair on your eyebrows. It really doesn’t get more Northern than this, mate.

Except maybe for fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Otherwise it’s about as reet proper as it can get, eh?

What’s Lancashire Hotpot?

It’s a stew that came about in the North West of England, in that there Lancashire. It includes lamb, onions, and is topped with thinly sliced potatoes.

That’s all arranged in a giant pot, which is slow-baked on a low heat for many hours.

Lancashire hotpot remains very popular in the North West of England and it’s common to see it at the likes of weddings, funerals, and on pub menus.

What’s The History of Lancashire Hotpot?

During the 19th century, the cotton industry was really booming in Lancashire.

As the dish was cheap to produce in great quantities, mill workers would live off the stuff when returning home after a long shift.

And these were proper long shifts. Employment law wasn’t such a big deal back in the 19th century, so workers arriving home after 15+ hours didn’t have much time to cook a nice meal.

So, the slow baking Lancashire hotpot came to the rescue!

Back at the stage, oysters were often added into the mix with (or instead of) lamb. You might think that’s an incredible delicacy, but oysters were pretty easy to come by. And were cheap (and still are, really).

The first written instance of Lancashire hotpot turned up in the Annals of Agriculture of 1795. This was in a letter from a bloke in Lancashire, in which he rants about the joys of the dish.

Since then it’s become an incredibly common recipe you’ll find on pub menus all across the North West of England.

As with so many British recipes, like bangers and mash, it’s comfort food.

Warming, hearty, tasty, and pretty simple to create. Yet very tasty and something of a delight in the winter months.

However, the cooking process of using a cooking vessel (a tall earthenware pot) hails from ancient China.

火锅 in traditional Chinese and 火鍋 in pinyin. You pronounce this as huǒguō. It means “fire pot”. The Chinese would use the technique to cook mushrooms, dumplings, and seafood.

Of course, the hotpot is popular across a lot of Asia, where it’s viewed as a great family occasion with a big old meal together.

Whereas in England you eat the dish while not talking to your family, preferably in a living room while watching Coronation Street.

How to Make Lancashire Hotpot

It’s pretty easy to make the recipe, it just takes a bit of time. You’ll need to leave the thing to bake on a low heat for ages, you see.

The ingredients you’ll need are as follows.

Potatoes

Lamb

Onions, carrots, and thyme

Stock

Butter

You’ll also need the hotpot mentioned in the title, the earthenware pot.

It’s really all about arranging the ingredients neatly together, with the potatoes lining the top like a pie.

And it’s tasty! Of course, you don’t need to be in Lancashire to make it, either.

Wherever you are in the world, why not give it a shot, eh? Reet proper.

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