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Chef reveals how to make the perfect Lancashire stew – and the secret to not burning the potatoes

You cooked the hotpot all wrong! Award-winning gastropub chef reveals how to make the perfect Lancashire hotpot – and the secret to not burning the potatoes on top

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The Lancashire hotpot is one of the most comforting winter hot dishes (file photo)

It’s one of winter’s most comforting warm dishes — and a top chef has revealed how to make a gourmet, chic version.

Award-winning chef Steven Smith has revealed his tips for making the ultimate Lancashire hotpot, as well as sharing his secret to not burning the all-important layer of sliced ​​potatoes on top of the lamb dish.

Steven is the culinary master behind Freemasons at Wiswell, the Lancashire pub that was recently named the UK’s third best gastropub in the prestigious annual Top 50 Gastropubs Awards. Not only that, but the pub – which is in the charming village of Wiswell in the Ribble Valley – has a whopping three AA Rosettes to its name.

Speaking to MailOnline Travel, Steven says, “The recipe for a hotpot wants to be very simple, because it’s typically a pauper’s dish, so it has simple, simple ingredients.”

Award-winning chef Steven Smith has shared his Lancashire hotpot recipe - revealing his secret to not burning the all-important layer of sliced ​​potatoes on top

Award-winning chef Steven Smith has shared his Lancashire hotpot recipe - revealing his secret to not burning the all-important layer of sliced ​​potatoes on top

Award-winning chef Steven Smith has shared his Lancashire hotpot recipe – revealing his secret to not burning the all-important layer of sliced ​​potatoes on top

He lays out the main ingredients of the Nordic staples and continues: ‘At the Freemasons at Wiswell we always use lamb neck because it falls apart perfectly, some sliced ​​onions, peeled sliced ​​carrots, lamb stock and flour – that’s all.

“For the lamb stock, it’s best if it’s homemade with leftover lamb bones from a lamb roast, plus onions, garlic, and any vegetables that need to be used up at home, such as celeriac, leeks, carrots, and greens.”

‘To add more depth of flavour, season generously with salt and pepper and feel free to add some juniper berries, cloves and bay leaves. Throw everything in a large pot, cover with water and simmer for a few hours.’

A longer cook time equates to a better hotpot, Steven reveals. The chef, who has been running Freemasons in Wiswell since 2009, explains: ‘The longer you simmer, the better the taste will be.’

He continues, “Once you’re ready to layer [the meat with potatoes]we always fill the casserole with lamb fat, which provides extra flavour.’

Steven is the award-winning chef patron behind Freemasons at Wiswell, the Lancashire pub recently voted Britain's third best gastropub in the prestigious annual Top 50 Gastropubs Awards

Steven is the award-winning chef patron behind Freemasons at Wiswell, the Lancashire pub recently voted Britain's third best gastropub in the prestigious annual Top 50 Gastropubs Awards

Steven is the award-winning chef patron behind Freemasons at Wiswell, the Lancashire pub recently voted Britain’s third best gastropub in the prestigious annual Top 50 Gastropubs Awards

What’s the trick to keep the spuds from burning on top?

Steven explains: ‘Traditionally you want to make a really crispy potato layer. This is easy to burn, so how we do this with the Masons is to cut thicker potatoes for the top layer and cover it with the lamb fat. For the other layers you want to slice the potatoes very thinly.’

Then it’s time to put your dish in the oven.

Steven says, ‘Once you’ve layered your hotpot, cook the dish with aluminum foil at about 180C in a conventional oven – or 160C for a convection oven – for two hours. If you then remove the aluminum foil, turn the oven on high so that the potatoes on top are really crispy.’

The chef also has a recipe for a more upscale take on the traditional Lancashire dish.

He reveals: ‘If you want to go really fancy, which we sometimes do, we also add lamb kidneys and sweetbreads.’

Those wishing to sample Steven’s culinary creations for themselves can stop by the gastropub to dine from a tasting menu or enjoy one of his chef’s table experiences, offering the chance to watch him at work in the kitchen.

Diners can watch Steven prepare his culinary creations at one of his kitchen-adjacent chef's table experiences (above)

Diners can watch Steven prepare his culinary creations during one of his kitchen-adjacent chef's table experiences (above)

Diners can watch Steven prepare his culinary creations during one of his kitchen-adjacent chef’s table experiences (above)

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