Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm Back! (Kind of)

Well, I’ve had better weeks. Not only did I have problems with my arm from the cat bite, but last weekend, the bottom half of my face swelled up until I looked like a hamster who’d had lip enhancements. Needless to say, I went back to the doctor who told me I’d had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, so she put me on a different one. My arm has since slowly improved, but is still not completely healed. One of Alvin’s teeth went particularly deep, and I think it may have damaged a tendon or something. This area is still very red and swollen, and pretty sore. I think if it doesn’t improve in the next day or so I will have to go back to the doctor.

Anyway, Mick, le petit chef, did a great job in the kitchen for those few days I had to keep my forearm elevated, and has since been invaluable for chopping, stirring and the like. It’s quite frustrating not being able to do things myself, but I am adapting to my supervisory role. :-) And thanks to all of you for commiserating with my misfortune, I have really appreciated all your good wishes.

Also, I must thank Nicole at: for giving me this award.
I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to acknowledge it, I'll be passing it along next time. Thank you Nicole.

Today’s recipe is Lancashire Hotpot, a traditional dish from my home county in England. The origins of Hotpot are a little vague. Some claim it has its basis in the Lancashire cotton industry, as it is a simple dish to prepare and has a long cooking time. Women mill workers could prepare it in the morning, leave it to cook all day, and it would be ready when the family came home from work. Others say it originated with the miners, who would take the pot to work wrapped in a blanket, where it would keep warm until lunchtime. Still others suggest it was prepared for shepherds to eat while tending their sheep on the moors.

But, one thing historians generally agree on is that Lancashire Hotpot made its first appearance during the industrial revolution of the mid 19th century. Hotpot is certainly mentioned in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, North and South, which was first published in 1855. Mr. Thornton, a mill owner in the novel says of Lancashire Hotpot, "I never made a better dinner in my life." I hope you all enjoy it as much.

Originally, Hotpot was made with mutton and oysters, both of which were very cheap in 19th century England; nowadays we use lamb and exclude the oysters. I’m afraid I have deviated even more from tradition and used beef. I did actually manage to get some lamb – but that’s a whole other story – and we have now become so accustomed to the beef version that we actually prefer it. I guess you could say that my Lancashire Hotpot is a variation on beef stew, but what ever it is, it’s darned tasty.

Lancashire Hotpot


1lbs beef stew meat
½ cup seasoned flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2lbs russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1-cup beef broth/stock
1 onion sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 turnip or rutabaga, sliced
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided


  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

  • Put flour and beef in a resealable plastic bag, and shake to coat.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium high heat, add beef and sauté until browned.

  • Transfer the meat to a tall-sided casserole or Pyrex dish and top with a layer of potatoes. Use the smaller pieces, reserving the larger ones for the top layer.

  • In alternate layers add, onions, rutabaga, carrots, and top with remaining potatoes.

  • Pour in the stock.
    Brush the potatoes with half the melted butter. Cover dish and bake for 1½ hours.

  • Remove the dish from the oven, and brush the potatoes with remaining melted butter.

  • Return dish to the oven, and cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes or until potatoes are browned. If the potatoes don’t brown evenly pop the dish under the broiler for a few minutes.


Cheryl said...

I am so glad to see you here! I hope you heal very soon! That looks delish!!!

Paula said...

Yeah, Jan's back, Jan's back! So sorry to hear that the healing process is taking a longer time, plus the allergic reaction ... UGH! On a brighter note, congratulations on your award! Also, how wonderful that your le petit chef stepped up to the plate. This recipe is just super. I enjoyed the history lesson that accompanied it, and I agree that I bet it's darn tasty! I love how the dish is layered, and the layers themselves are pretty. I think I'd enjoy it with lamb or beef. Yum, yum, yum!

Lisa said...

Your dish looks delicious. Glad to see you back and I hope you heal soon.

Pam said...

I've miss you Jan. Sorry to hear about your allergic reaction - no fun. Hope you are back to normal soon.

The recipe is wonderful. Total comfort food and great for a rainy day.

Beth said...

Glad you're back. I have to say I actually prefer beef anyway!!!

Lakeland Jo said...

First of all sorry to hear about your arm trouble and then the allergy- what a nuisance! Glad to hear you are getting back to health and that your delegation skills are on top form!
The weather here is so dire I could do with a big portion of Lancashire hotpot- its great stuff.
Do you have a recipe for Irish stew by any chance?

Raquel said...

Jan, that sounds great! Not about your arm or the rash, the hotpot! Hope you are feeling better! Much love, Raquel XO

Denise said...

Hi Jan, so good to see you back. Sounds like Mick has been helping out a lot which is great and it's good to delegate :) Very sorry you've been through such a rough patch though, these things take time don't they? At least you're heading in the right direction and I hope it won't be long before you're all better. Thanks for the great recipe. I'll be adding it to the other list of delicious recipes you've shared. Take good care of yourself, I know Mick will.

Jan said...

Oooh I hope you're better soon.
I too am a worry at the moment - I have sciatica - I'm like an old crock lol I can only move one leg - eeeek!

I have been wanting to make Lancashire Hotpot for a while now but haven't got round to it.
I will add this to my 'must make' list and have a go at it very soon. Yours looks delish!

pamokc said...

This recipe is definitely going to my personal chef to try out! Glad you are back, sort of, and that the poor kitty is okay too!

Jan said...

Glad your back Jan - sounds horrid all you've gone through.
Love the hotpot recipe - it's something I've been wanting to have a go at for ages. I will now be on a mission to make it!

Kevin said...

That looks really tasty! I hope you are feeling better now.

James Walsh said...

I haven't seen this made in a long time. A great dish along with shepards pie and steak and mushroom pie. Great for a winters night. Very nice color on the potatoes by the way. Very tasty looking.

James Walsh said...

I was wondering what to make for dinner all day yesterday. After seeing and commenting on your hotpot I decided to do a vegetarian hotpot. It turned out quite good and you solved my dinner problem. Thank you.