How to Make the Perfect Jamie Oliver's Lancashire Hotpot- Lamb Recipes (2024)

Lancashire hotpot is a dish made traditionally from lamb or mutton and onion, topped with sliced potatoes, left to bake in the oven all day in a heavy pot and on a low heat. Originating in the days of heavy industrialization in Lancashire in the North West of England.

Lancashire hotpot is one of the best stew in the world. It requires a minimum of effort to prepare and a dish that makes a virtue of simplicity. The hot pot referred to is a pottery dish used to cook casseroles in British cuisine. The name, often assumed to refer to the cooking vessel used (traditionally a tall, straight-sided earthenware pot) is actually more likely to be connected what lies within, which originally would have been a assortment or mixture of ingredients – whatever was to hand that day.

This traditional lamb, onion, and potato stew from northern England is light enough for summer nights and takes just a few minutes to assemble. Serve with buttered carrots or broccoli.

Millworkers are often said to have invented this particular hotpot, but, as has been pointed out, few people would have had ovens at home in the mid-19th century, when the first recipes appear; perhaps it was baked in the communal bread oven as it cooled, or the recipe may have originated somewhat higher up the social scale. Whatever the true history, it is an indisputable northern England classic.

Why Mutton is Tastier than Lamb?

Yearlings, or hogget, are sheep that are between one and two years, while mutton are usually aged two or older. Mutton is often derived from culled breeding rams and ewes, and is sold at a low return or bred specifically for the specialty market.

Cheaper to buy, yearlings and mutton offer a unique repertoire of recipes and are traditionally eaten during fall and winter when lambs are unavailable. Older sheep meat has a higher concentration of fatty acids, which alters the flavor and texture. With more connective tissue, the meat has a tighter texture and a gamey flavor. It suits slow-cooked and highly seasoned stews and pot-roasts. Mutton even has its own fan club, with Prince Charles as its patron. In England, the Mutton Appreciation Society recommends buying fresh mutton between October and March because the sheep have access to summer and autumn pastures, allowing them to gain extra weight. The animals are also finished on root crops and silage to prepare them for market. The darker the color, the older the animal. Baby lamb meat is pale pink, while Spring lamb is pinkish-red, and mutton is a deep shade of burgundy.

Aging of Lamb or Mutton

Lamb benefits from a short hanging period to age and mature the meat. The aging process is quicker for lamb than for beef. Traditional butchers hang lamb for about one week, although meat reared for the mass market gets less than three days. Meat reared specifically as mutton favors a two-week hanging.

Best Hotpot Preparation Techniques

There are many regional variations. It is frequently found listed amongst the usual pub grub dishes in hostelries around Britain. The basic recipe consists of a mix of lamb and vegetables (carrot, turnip, potatoes, onions or leeks) covered with sliced potato. Sometimes lamb kidneys are included in the dish. Modern variants may use beef or bacon chops instead of lamb, or have a pastry topping. As much food can be added as will fit in the pot.

The traditional recipe once included oysters, but increasing cost eliminated them from common usage. Pickled red cabbage or beetroot are often served as an accompaniment. In some areas Lancashire cheese is also served with the dish.

Flavor can be enhanced with seasoning; salt and pepper would be the most traditional, and any other ingredients available in the kitchen. Some stock is usually added to cover the contents while it cooks, though some recipes rely on a well-sealed pot on a low heat to retain enough moisture within the meat, onion and potato.

Slow cooking tenderizes firm or tough cuts and allows seasoned liquid to mingle with the meat. Braising and pot-roasting are best for seared whole cuts, while stewing is beneficial to smaller pieces of lamb. Braising usually requires that the level of liquid is no more than halfway up the side of the meat. This prevents the meat from drying out and provides enough liquid heat to break down the connective tissue and tougher flesh. As an extension of this technique, stewing fully immerses the meat in liquid, letting the moist heat permeate the flesh. All slow-cooked lamb is served well-done.

Preparation Time:20 minutes Cook:1 hr, 40 minutes
Skill Level: Easy
Servings: Serves 4


2 pounds (900 g) boneless rib or shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces
salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon (5 g) dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1- 1/2 pounds (680 g) potatoes, peeled and sliced
1- 1/2 cups (350 ml) lamb or vegetable stock
sunflower oil or melted butter, for glazing


1) Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Place the lamb in a Dutch oven or a large ovenproof casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the thyme and bay leaves. Add the onions, then arrange the potatoes on top in overlapping layers.

2) Slowly pour the stock into the dish. Brush the top of the potatoes with oil or butter. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3) Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Remove the lid and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden.

Quick Tips:

This dish would have originally been made with mutton meat, from sheep aged 1 1/2 years and over. Chops from fully grown hill sheep would be stood upright around the edge of a tall ceramic pot, with the vegetables placed in the center. For a more rustic recipe, use bone-in chops as well as boneless meat.

Watch a related quick video tutorial: How to Make the Perfect Lancashire Hotpot

Lancashire Hotpot Calorie Counter


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Pack (454 g)

Per Serving%

Daily Value*


Calories from Fat123

Total Fat13.6g




Dietary Fiber4.5g



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How to Make the Perfect Jamie Oliver's Lancashire Hotpot- Lamb Recipes (2024)
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