Growing up in England, I was fortunate to experience the older version of this simple dish. Traditionally known as Lancashire Hotpot (and made with lamb,) I created my own version by adding a bunch of fresh herbs and a few other tasty ingredients.
If youre not a lamb lover, you can substitute ground beef instead. However, you could try ground chicken and turkey also and use the appropriate stock. This is by far, a very traditional and popular dish back in the day in my homeland as it used, at that time, inexpensive ingredients such as potatoes and onions, which made the lamb affordable.
This recipe will serve 8 people as an entrée. Enjoy!
6 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
2 lbs. of ground lamb
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
5 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 lbs. thinly sliced potatoes (1/4" thick)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk
4 cups beef stock
1/3 cup melted butter or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. In a large skillet heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high and brown the lamb on all sides. Drain and set aside.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Cook the onions until they are lightly browned, approximately 8 minute and then add the rosemary, thyme, garlic and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of kosher salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the lamb, milk and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Cook the sliced potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let them cool enough so you can handle them. Do not overcook the potatoes as they are going to finish cooking in the oven until they become tender. We are just par-cooking them at this point.
4. Grease a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish (you may use butter or olive oil,) layering potatoes and overlapping them. Season with salt and pepper - then, top with onion and lamb mixture. Repeat this step ending with a layer of potatoes seasoned again with salt and pepper. Pour the beef stock around the edges of the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1 hour.
5. Remove the casserole from the oven (be careful uncovering as steam will escape.) Pour the melted butter or olive oil over the top of the potatoes and bake for a further 30 minute or so or until the potatoes are golden brown on top.
Before you add the butter or oil, check to make sure that you don't need to add a little more stock. It should not be dry on the bottom. The stock creates steam and therefore cooks the potatoes. Check at intervals for tenderness of the potatoes by inserting a butter knife or skewer all the way to the bottom - they should be fork tender. The top layer should be somewhat chewy.