Pressure-cooked Lancashire Hotpot – Smokeandumami
I’ve been really enjoying using my pressure cooker lately. Simmered dishes that were previously out of reach of work and evening dinners are now within reach. The pressure cooker miraculously transforms hard cuts like breast, pork and shoulder of lamb into melted goodness in a matter of minutes instead of hours. I made a cracked lamb and spinach curry in about twenty minutes the other day. Lap uses his for pork carnitas and beef rendexg. I thought I’d use this trick to make one of my favorites: Lancashire stew. Fleshy neck bones are often suggested for this dish, but I find it a bit difficult to get, but I can get lamb shoulder that has the necessary properties to give gelatinous goodness to the sauce. So I thought I would cook the shoulder in the pressure cooker, crush the flesh of the bone, and then assemble the hot pot. This reduces the total cooking time of this dish to two realistic hours. I think it would be double with a conventional brase.
If you are interested in experimenting with pressure cooking, I would suggest this excellent site: hip pressure cooking that has a useful page on cooking times and some useful tips and tricks.
1/2 shoulder of lamb 1 glass of red wine 1 onion, sliced 2 carrots, chunked 1 tablespoon flour 400 ml good meat broth (I tend to use the Heston de Waitrose stuff) bay leaf, sprig of rosemary and thyme Main crop mealy potatoes (Maris Piper, King Edwards * see reviews) – the number will depend on the area of your good pot of anchovy essence Lamb
shoulder brown in a hot skillet (my pressure cooker is not big enough for one shoulder).
In the open pressure cooker fry the onion and carrots in a little oil until given. Add the herbs and flour. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and anchovy essence, reduce a little. Add the whole lamb shoulder. Cook in pressure cooker for about 35-40 minutes at 15 psi (high pressure) and use the slow release method. Check that the lamb is tender, otherwise go again for 10 more minutes. Remove the shoulder from the sauce and leave until it cools enough to handle. Use your hands to break it into pieces, it should be tender enough (gloves are useful here). Pour the sauce into a bowl and let the fat sit on top. Remove the fat but save it for later. Season the sauce (be careful as the essence of anchovy is quite salty). Cut the potatoes into thick slices (about a pound coin thick) for the base. Add some dripping lamb to a good ovenproof pot. Then place the potatoes in thick slices at the bottom of the pot. Make a couple of layers if you like a lot of potatoes in your stew. Place a layer over the shoulder of shredded lamb and pour over the sauce so that it covers the meat (removing the herbs at the same time). Cut more potatoes into very thin slices for the top. I use a mandolin. Carefully overlap them in several layers. Add a little more dripping lamb to serve as a glaze. Cook in the oven at 200 degrees loosely covered with aluminum foil for 1 hour and then remove the aluminum foil and brown the top until it looks really appetizing.
Serve with pickled vegetables. Red cabbage is traditional, but I used turnips and carrots that worked well.