Lancashire Hot Pot

Northern British from our sheep fancying cousins over them hills in Lancashire!

Originating in the days of heavy industrialisation in Lancashire mill towns, this is a simple dish to create - minimal preparation and a simple ingredient set.

Let's take an initial lesson from how Michelin starred Lancashire Chef Nigel Haworth might make the perfect Lancashire Hot Pot.

My only deviations are to use arrowroot in place of the flour, anchovy paste instead of Worcestershire Sauce and to include lamb's kidneys. Why? Because Yorkshire Chef James Martin gives us Yorkshire folk a way of bettering this dish. And, because they're just too damn good to leave out; thrifty, for us Northerners!

Let's get into the kitchen ...

First things, first. Shred an onion and get it in a good amount of butter softening and caramelising.

Take some lamb neck fillets and trim off any excess fat. Neck is a fatty cut with good marbling in the meat which melts out in the cooking to give the dish a really round, buttery flavour.

Cut the fillets into slices about 3-4cm on the slant and brown off in a dry frying pan - there's no need to add more fat to this meat, it is fatty enough and there'll be the butter in the onions.

Slice the kidneys, remove the central fatty core and sauté in just a little butter.

Arrange the meat around the base of an ovenproof dish and pour the kidneys over.

Add in some flavours and aromats: anchovy paste, white pepper, celery salt, bay leaves and some thyme.

Garlic? Red Wine? Bouquet Garni? Nah, this ain't no French dish! This is a Northern British dish and we don't go in for flounce!

Once the onions are caramelised, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of arrowroot over the onions to soak up all the fat and dry out the onions. Toss the onions over the meat.

Pour over some good lamb or chicken stock just to cover.

Peel and slice some white potatoes into slices 2-3mm thick, arranging over the meat and onions, then press down gently to allow some stock to cover over - this will help with the colouring.

Place into a pre-heated oven set to 150C for a couple of hours. Timing is not especially important, but a couple of hours is good; longer, just turn the heat down to 125C. Remove the lid about an hour before you want to eat and allow the juices to concentrate.

Maybe half an hour before you are ready to eat, drop some knobs of butter over the potato crown which will crispen and colour up.

Serve out into a wide bowl, accompanied traditionally by red cabbage.

To prepare the red cabbage, that hour before you want to eat, shred, add in a couple of teaspoons of cider vinegar, water and boil for 15 minutes and then simmer for the remainder of the time with some pickled beetroot. Return to the boil before serving to evaporate off all the water.

Simple, tasty and a perfect dish to say farewell to winter. Ironically, it snowed today.