I thought long and hard about what to put on for vegetarians today ... I woke up from a dose yesterday evening with a start as a realised i hadn't done the ordering. Mmmmm Squash I thought. Alex slow roasted some the other week and they were delicious.
Stuffed with feta and toasted pine nuts. So they arrived and I set to them with a knife, slicing them length ways scooping the seeds out sprinkling of salt and pepper... but there was a sticker on the second to last one." Latina Squash, Panama" it said. I was straight on the phone to the veg supplier. "Why bother cooking with the seasons if it's flown in from the other side of the world?" I Said. "You need to specify british or european if thats what you want ... we just get what looks the best quality at the best price. The Supermarkets take all the british stuff so what ever is left is expensive" they said. Am I alone in thinking that this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time? I don't shop for fruit and veg from the supermarkets because most of it comes from peru, mexico, thailand or south africa ... and I am blessed with chapel market with its varied produce(yes yes I know a lot of it is from far flown places but there is lot that is not!). Anyway enough squash rage (they did come out nice all the same) and onto my Hotpot.
My Hotpot recipe is taken from Mark Hix's(...I heart him...) British Food Book, although I've changed it here and there over time.
Lamb Neck fillet 2k
Lamb Kidneys 1k (optional)
Maris Pipers 8 large
Spanish Onion 2 large
Quality Lamb of Beef Stock (chicken of vegetable can be used)
Rosemary 3 sprigs
plain flour a cup
salt pepper half a teaspoon of each
Slice the Lamb neck in to chunks about a finger width in thickness and put in a tray or bowl with some of the flour salt and pepper to coat all the meat in the seasoning and flour.
If using the Kidneys, take out the white sinewy stuff with scissors or small knife and slice in half then use the rest of the flour salt and pepper to coat the kidneys. (This will make a gooey mess but this is normal)
Slice the onions thinly and brown/caramalise in frying pan with oil. Bring your stock to the heat and add the onions. Leave simmering until needed. This may seem thin for a gravy but the flour that the lamb is coated in will thicken it when all together in the casserole dish in the oven.
Using the same fryng pan start sealing the lamb neck, this only need about 30 seconds on each side if your pan is hot enough. Set aside the lamb neck on a plate/bowl and repeat with the kidneys.
Peel your potatoes and slice about 2mm thick.... Now its time to start building the Hotpot.
Take a large Casserole dish or earthenware dish. It doesn't matter if you don't have a lid as foil to cover will do.
Line the bottom of the dish with potatoes , overlapping but not too much as this is more a meat than potato dish! Next arrange some of the lamb and the kidneys over the potaoes then pour over some of the onion gravy until almost covering the lamb and kidneys and add some sprigs of rosemary... then more potatoes, lamb and kidneys then onion gravy and rosemary. Carry on going until you fill the dish finishing with a neat layering of potatoes on the top.
Place a lid or cover with foil and put into the oven Gas mark 6 for 2 hours. If you are eating immediatley then take off the lid for the last 15 minutes to brown the potatoes on the top, if having later or the next day then pop in the oven without the lid/foil for 20 minutes of so.
I'm making cassoulet tomorrow. Now that is a recipe ... I'll try and get it on the blog by the end of the week.
How's the mushroom picking Pippa ?... hope you took some photoes to brighten up the blog!