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Lamb Stew with a Lid

Since first serving behind the bar in 1969, Coronation Street character Betty Turpin, played by Betty Driver (who passed away last week) became synonymous with "Betty's Hotpot", the signature food dish served at the famous Rovers Return Inn.

Betty Driver, who died on Saturday aged 91, with her famous "Betty's Hotpot"

TV Company ITV described the dish as "the stuff of legends" and in 1995 British food producer Holland's Pies launched a real-life range of hotpots and pies based on the dish, called "Betty's Kitchen". In 2007, the world's largest Lancashire hotpot was created, based on Betty's recipe!

The traditional meat used was mutton, best-end of neck, middle neck, or even scrag end, from sheep farmed on the uplands of Lancashire, England. The Hotpot is frequently found listed amongst the usual pub grub dishes in bars and restaurants around Britain, in the same way that Irish Stew is here in Ireland. The basic recipe also consists of a mix made up of lamb and vegetables (carrot, turnip, onion, celery or leek) but it is then covered with sliced potato and cooked in the oven. Sometimes lamb kidneys are included in the dish.

Traditional Lancashire Hotpot is basically a Lamb Stew with sliced potatoes on top

The "hot pot" referred to is the traditional pottery dish used to cook casseroles. One of my favourite mentions of the dish is in the 1966 film Alfie where Michael Caine spoke about one of his "birds who can cook, but her only dishes are Lancashire hotpot and steak and kidney pie."

And so... at the request of my lovely wife, Nuala, and as a nod to the passing of one of her favourite TV soap stars, here is my version of the traditional Lancashire Hotpot!

My Ingredients:
750g stewing lamb diced bite size
750g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 sticks celery roughly chopped
400 ml boiling water
1 tblsp Worcester sauce
1 bay leaf
1 chicken stock cube
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 tblsp chopped parsley
2 tblsp flour
50g butter
sea salt and ground black pepper

Cook the Hotpot for 2½ hours before removing the lid
My Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

2. Melt half the butter over a high heat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, add the meat and fry stirring all the time until nicely browned. (This is different from a Traditional Irish Stew, where the meat is not browned and flour is not used to thicken it.) Remove the meat from the pan and pour into the a deep casserole dish. Turn down the heat to medium.

3. Put the rest of the butter into the frying pan with the meat juices and soften the onions. Sprinkle on the flour and stir in to soak up the fat and the juices. Cook out the flour for a minute and then slowly add some of the boiling water stirring all the time to avoid lumps. Gradually add the rest of the liquid and worchester sauce.

4. Pour the onions and liquid over the meat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley & bay leaf. Season with salt & pepper, crumble in the stock cube and mix well.

5. Arrange the sliced potatoes over the meat in overlapping layers and season the top. Rub the top of the potato layer with a little butter, cover the dish with a lid or tinfoil and cook on the top shelf of the oven for 2½  hours.

6. Uncover the dish and cook it for a further 30 minutes. If the potatoes are not brown at this point you can finish the dish for serving by placing it under the grill. To serve, brush the potato top with a little more butter to give it a lovely shine.

Brush the top of the potatoes with a little butter just before serving
You can read more about Betty Driver and her Coronation Street character, Betty Turpin, here at

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