Condensed History of the Lancashire Hotpot!
Lancashire is located in the North West of England.
Lancashire hotpot was a convenience meal for the hard working pre-industrial lancashire population. Many women worked at home spinning cotton so there was less time to cook meals.
After industrialisation of the cotton industry many women and children were required to work in the factories along with the men. So the hot pot retained its popularity.
The dish could stew away for hours and be ready when it was needed, with very little attention required to prepare a hearty, sustaining meal.
If the hotpot was prepared in a farmhouse then a bread-oven was commonly used. The hotpot could be placed in low or cooling oven and left until the family’s evening meal.
The hotpot likely gets its name from the ceramic, heavy-based dish that the meal is cooked within. Generally, a lid would be added to traditional hotpots during the initial cooking stages as this would keep the heat in and the meat juices would be retained. The lid would be removed shortly before mealtime in order to brown and crisp the potatoes.
Today, the hot pot retains its popularity, with many pubs and inns up and down the British Isles serving up the delicious hotpot.
The TV soap Coronation St has long featured Betty’s HotPot within the local Rovers Return pub.
Even famous British Chefs are getting in on the act and recreating the humble hotpot. Check out Nigel Haworth’s over on the Great British Chefs website.
Though I don’t like the look of Nigel’s hotpot!
I think I’ll stick to my Vegan Lancashire Hotpot!
Vegan or Vegetarian Lancashire Hotpot!
Traditionally, Lancashire Hotpot is made with mutton or lamb. My vegan version uses Quorn ‘chicken’ style fillets as my family loves the chickeny taste the fillets lend to the pie.
Alternatively ‘chicken’ style pieces could be substituted, either Quorn or a different type. Fresh or frozen plant-based meat alternatives will work fine.
Butter beans or big meaty mushrooms could replace the meat alternative if preferred.
Another key ingredient of hotpot is onions and of course potatoes.
My vegan or vegetarian Lancashire hotpot also has leeks, chestnut mushrooms and a sprig of rosemary, which are stewed with the fillets to create a delicious unamy, savoury, creamy sauce.
Vegan or Vegetarian Lancashire Hotpot!
- Saute pan/large fry pan
- Casserole dish/pyrex dish/or individual pie dishes
- Measuring jug
- Stove top
- 500 grams potatoes thin-medium sliced, can leave skins on if unblemished
- 2 leeks washed, trimmed and sliced
- 1 medium white onion chopped, does not have to be fine chopped
- 3 cloves garlic fine chopped but doesn't have to be perfect!
- 1 packet quorn fillets/pieces I used a 312 gram bag of Quorn fillets, but could be substituted for any type of vegan or vegetarian 'chicken' style fillets or pieces
- 6-8 chestnut mushrooms chopped into quarters
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas these don't need precooked as they will just get tipped straight into the pie before the oven stage
- sprig rosemary or thyme or use tsp of dried version
- 2 tbsp Vitalite margarine or any other vegan or vegetarian margarine that you generally use. I always use Vitalite as its dairy free. This is to melt and brush over the potato topping.
- 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 450 mls vegetable stock use 1 vegetable stock cube or a tsp or 2 of vegetable bouillon powder
- 2 tbsp plain flour to thicken the stock
- Preheat the oven to 200 Fan/220 Celsius/425 Fahrenheit/Gas 7
- Parboil the sliced potatoes in salted water for 4-8 minutes depending on the size of slices you have. Thinner slices will become soft sooner. You don't want to parboil till the slices are mush. Just until a skewer can dent them a little. Set the parboiled potatoes aside draining in a colander until needed.
- Over a medium heat saute the onion and leek for 5 minutes until starting to turn lightly golden. (add the rosemary or thyme at the same time)
- Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the quorn fillets or pieces, fresh or frozen is fine. If the pan is becoming dry then add a splash of boiling water rather than extra oil. Prepare the stock.
- Cook the mix for about 3 minutes. After this time it should be possible to break the fillets up with a knife or wooden spoon. Just half or quarter them into rough sizes. If using pieces this won't be necessary.
- Add the flour and mix.
- Add the stock a little at a time, and mix well to incorporate the flour.
- Bring to the boil. And simmer for 3 minutes.
- If the sauce is too thick just add a little extra boiling water to loosen it up.
- Take off the heat and tip in the frozen peas. Mix well.
- Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon the mix into the casserole dish or individual pie dishes.
- Remove the sprig of thyme or rosemary if used. Melt the margarine.
- Layer the potatoes over the mix, in a fish-scale type pattern!
- Brush the melted margarine over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 25-45 minutes until the potatoes are crispy and golden. Precice cooking times depend on your oven so yours could take longer or quicker. If your having an accompanying vegetable prepare this while pie is cooking.
- Serve! Either in the individual dishes or carefully scooped out. If serving later cool and store in the fridge for up to three days.
- These hotpots taste even yummier the next day as the flavours get a chance to settle and develop more.
- Vegan or vegetarian Lancashire Hotpot is a major favourite with my kids. When one of my daughters was younger this was a birthday dinner request for many years!
- Hotpot is delicious served with tomato ketchup or brown sauce.
- This dish is a complete meal and filling, so sides are not generally needed but it could be served with an additional vegetable. I chopped some julienne carrots to have on the side. Just boil till soft but still firm.
- Traditionally Lancashire hotpot would have been served with pickled red cabbage or beetroot, and when available oysters were added at the stewing stage!
- Frozen sweet corn could be substituted for the frozen peas. Or a mix of sweetcorn and peas used.
- Sweet Potatoes could replace the white potato topping. Perhaps equal quantities of white and sweet potatoes.
- For a change mash the potatoes instead of slices, and for the last 20 minutes baking time, sprinkle some grated cheese either vegetarian or a vegan cheese.
- Make a scottish 'neeps and tatties' topping with half potato and half turnip/swede mash.
- A few bay leafs are a nice addition, add at the rosemary or thyme stage, and don't forget to remove before the potato topping is added.