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Lancashire Hot Pot

*Lancashire Hot Pot*
Serves 4 (unless you are a greedy git like me!)

I guess you could call this the English version of Irish stew. One pot cooking of the most delicious persuasion.

1 TBS olive oil
750g diced lamb
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunky pieces
1/2 medium swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
500ml lamb stock
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
750g of potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the meat in batches and fry it until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large casserole dish (one with a lid) as it browns. Set aside.

Once all the meat it browned and removed from the skillet add the vegetables to the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Return the lamb to the skillet and pour over the stock. Add the Worchestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix it all in well and then carefully pour the mixture back into the casserole dish. Tuck the two sprigs of thyme into the mixture, burying it.

Cover the top of the mixture with a layer of half of the sliced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and then dot with butter. Finish layering with the remaining potatoes and adding a final dusting of salt and pepper and dot once again with some butter. Put the lid on.

Bake in the heated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and bake for a further hour until the meat is very tender and the "thatch" is nicely browned in places and tender as well. Serve hot spooned out onto hot plates along with seasonal green vegetables on the side and plenty of crusty bread and butter to mop up the delicious juices.
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