Traditional Lancashire Hotpot

A wonderfully satisfying casserole from James Martin - tender thyme-scented lamb and kidneys beneath a crisp buttery potato topping
By James Martin
Traditional Lancashire Hotpot
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 900 g middle neck and best end of lamb, sliced into chops
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • butter
  • 4 lamb's kidneys, skinned, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 onions, sliced into 1 cm wedges
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 570 ml boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 sprig thyme
  • 900 g potatoes, thinly sliced
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C/gas 3.

2. Trim the lamb of any excess fat and pat dry with kitchen paper.

3. Heat the oil and a small knob of butter in a large heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the lamb two or three pieces at a time, and fry until brown, turning once. Once browned, put into a wide 3.5 litre casserole. Brown the pieces of kidney too, tucking them in amongst the meat.

4. Once the meat and kidney are in the casserole, add the onions to the pan. Fry over medium heat, adding a little more butter if necessary, for about 10 minutes until browned at the edges.

5. Stir in the flour then gradually add the hot water and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until the flour and liquid are smoothly blended. Season with salt and pepper and bring to simmering point. Pour over the meat in the casserole.

6. Tuck in the bay leaf and thyme, then arrange the potato slices on top in an overlapping pattern. Season the potatoes and dot the surface with a few dabs of butter.

7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put in the oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Towards the end of cooking time, remove the lid and brush the potatoes with a little more butter. Put under the grill to crisp up. Alternatively, remove the lid and increase the heat to 200C/gas 6 for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

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