James Tea, head chef at Wisbech’s Rose and Crown Hotel, is dishing up a weekly menu to help liven up your family meal times. Each week James, who has worked at top-class restaurants around the world, will be serving up an easy, affordable recipe for your to try. Many of the meals will be a version of those on offer at the prestigious Rose and Crown Hotel.
Hotpot is a long, slow cooked recipe – yet, unlike many stews, it is still quite light and suitable for eating all year round (apart from a really hot summer’s day). Pop it in the oven, leave for a couple of hours and you have a great supper dish – and, it tastes even better the next day.
• 55g /2 oz/beef dripping or lard
• 8 middle neck lamb chops, on the bone
• 225g / 1⁄2 lb onions, skinned and finely sliced
• 55g / 2 oz/butter, melted
• 900g / 2 lb/potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
• 4 lambs kidneys, cored and sliced (optional)
• 1 carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
• Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/Gas 6.
In a large frying pan, melt the dripping or lard and heat until hot but not smoking. Quickly colour the chops on both sides, remove from the fat, and drain on kitchen paper.
Add the sliced onions to the hot fat and cook quickly, stirring constantly until softened but not coloured.
Remove from the fat and drain on kitchen paper.
In a large oven-proof, casserole pour half the butter into the bottom then cover with a layer of sliced potato, cover with half the onions, season with salt and pepper.
Lay the chops on the top with the onion, don’t worry if the bones stick up. If using, lay the sliced kidneys over the chops, add the carrot, cover with the remaining onions, season.
Pour in enough stock to come two-thirds up the casserole dish. Add the Worcestershire sauce.
Cover with another layer of overlapping potatoes, ensuring the surface is completely covered.
Brush the potato with the remaining melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4 and cook for a further 1.5 hours.
Check to make sure the casserole isn’t drying out, top up with stock or water as necessary.Remove the lid from the casserole and cook until the potatoes are brown, remove from the oven and leave to rest about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh, seasonal vegetables.