In today’s “Cooking Off the Cuff” (http://tinyurl.com/78n5vnf) I recall the Lancashire hotpot I made on our last trip to Newcastle. I used lovely local lamb, hyper-local potatoes (from the back garden, harvested mere hours before dinner) and – here’s the surprise – a quick onion-bacon broth the idea for which came from an unlikely source: the inaugural issue of “Lucky Peach” magazine, which I’d read on the plane ride over to the UK. There, it is a bacon dashi with definite Asian overtones, but in my hotpot it tasted purely Western.
Just the other night, we served a roast shoulder of lamb from 3-Corner Field Farm, simply rubbed with salt, pepper, piment d’Espelette, rosemary, garlic and olive oil, set on a bed of vegetables and left for around three hours in a 325-degree oven. Here it is, just before it went into the oven:
As an accompaniment, I made that same Lancashire hotpot, but without the meat: just onions on the bottom and potatoes on the top, cooked in a similar onion-bacon broth. It amounted to a sort of pommes de terre boulangère, I suppose, but with a nice smoky back-flavor. So if you want the hotpot experience, but without the lamb, give that a try.