The Great British Hot-Pot
There are many more hotpots than those that hail from Lancashire, the traditional cradle of this most satisfying popular and economical dish, so much in demand at this time of strenuous political activity and uncertain hours for meals. Yorkshire has its hot pot, Cumberland too, and there are many distinctive forms in many other countries and quarters of the World. The general principles of cookery are the same throughout, the slow cooking of vegetables with meat, poultry or game in fireproof earthenware – a complete dish in itself, and one that does not spoil if kept waiting.
Best end neck lamb or small mutton, quarter-pound ox kidney, stock, potatoes, onions.
Divide meat into short cutlets, cutting off some of the surplus fat. Slice potatoes across fairly thinly, and place a layer at the bottom of the dish; then a layer of large pieces of onions. On this place layers of cutlets and cut-up kidney. Add stock and plenty of pepper and salt. (Cut some potatoes in half, and cover the top with these, ends upwards). Cook in the oven two hours slowly, after coming to the boil, and brown the top potatoes. Eat with pickled cabbage – home-made, if possible, and no other vegetables.
Trim all fat off one and a half lb neck of mutton. Cut into neat pieces, put a layer of meat in a casserole, then a thin layer of onions finely sliced and lastly a layer of potatoes sliced but not too thin. Fill up casserole, with alternate layers and a slight sprinkling of pepper and salt between each. Barely cover with water, and cover with lid. Simmer very slowly for 2 hours.
Serve with a finger of toast and a good relish. Cold meat of any kind makes this excellent hot pot, but in that case a good stock must be used instead of water.
Put a layer of chops, or better still, the lean part of a neck of mutton, which is also more economical, in a brown earthenware pot. Then a layer of sliced onions, a layer of thickly sliced potatoes, pepper and salt, and so on until the pot is full. The last layer must be potatoes cut into quarters. Half fill the pot with water, cover with a plate, and gently cook for three hours; then remove the plate and let the potatoes crisp. Serve in the pot, with a napkin folded round.
2 lb best middle neck of lamb or mutton, quarter lb ox kidney, twelve oysters, 3 shallots, 4 good sized potatoes, pepper and salt to taste.
Cut up the meat into neat pieces and trim of superfluous fat. Beard the oysters. Cut shallots and potatoes into slices. Take a good-sized casserole dish, place the ingredients in layers in the dish, season to taste. Cover all with cold water and bake for about 2 hours.
The Old Pepper Pot
Take any variety of vegetables, beetroot, carrot, turnip, celery and a good supply of onions. Cut up small, toss in hot fat, pork if handy or good dripping. Have ready a large-sized casserole and 2 lb neck of mutton, or a boiling fowl and about 1 lb of pickled pork. Remove fat from mutton, if used, and cut the fowl into neat joints.
Put half the prepared vegetables at the bottom of the casserole, then the meat, using the usual seasoning. Sprinkle in a spoonful of rice, add more vegetables, one or two capsicums and tomatoes if procurable, and on the top place potatoes cut in quarters. Nearly cover with stock, or water.
Some minced meat of small crab or lobster added to the meat and vegetables is good. Cover closely and stew in a moderate oven – two – three hours according to size. When ready, place the casserole in a pan of hot water to await the late-comers.