Nigel Howarth is one of Britain's finest cooks, and a fierce advocate of the produce of the North West. Alongside his old mates Reg Johnson and Paul Heathcote, they make up a mighty Lancastrian triumvirate. There are various versions of the Lancashire hotpot, but his is the best I've ever tasted. Here it is - it might seem a little cheffy, with all those different cuts of lamb - but it's not. Serve with pickled red cabbage.
You will need
200g boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 4cm pieces
150g lamb leg steaks, cut into 4cm pieces
150g lamb neck fillet, cut into 4cm pieces
Pinch of caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g plain flour
4 lamb loin chops (100g each)
2 tbsp olive oil
50g salted butter, melted
4 onions, thinly sliced
500g Golden Wonder or other floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2mm-thick slices
Pinch of ground white pepper
1. Preheat the oven to fan 160°C/325°F/gas mark 4. Season the meat with the sugar, ½ tsp salt and some black pepper. Toss with the flour and arrange in a heavy hotpot or casserole dish.
2. Season the loin chops. Heat the oil in a pan and sear the chops on all sides for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Put them on top of the raw meat.
3. Heat one tablespoon of the butter in a clean pan over a medium-low heat until foaming, add the onions with one teaspoon of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Spread the onions evenly over the lamb.
4. Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the remaining butter, season with one teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper, and mix well. Layer the sliced potatoes on top of the onions.
5. Bake the hotpot, covered, for two hours, removing the lid for the final 30 minutes.
6. To serve, divide among four bowls, making sure there's a chop in each bowl.
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