Perfect Lancashire Hotpot (Felicity Cloake)

(Serves 4)
4ā€“6 best-end or middle-neck lamb or mutton cutlets
400g diced lamb or mutton neck fillet or shoulder
Flour, sugar, salt and pepper, to dust
3 largeish floury potatoes, such as maris piper
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 bay leaf
2 onions, sliced
500ml lamb stock
20g butter, melted, plus extra to grease

Preheat the oven to 170C. Dust the meat lightly with flour and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly.

Butter a high-sided casserole dish and arrange about a third of the potatoes in the bottom. Season them and sprinkle with a little thyme. Top with the meat and bay leaf and season in the same way, followed by the onions, seasoned in the same way.

Arrange the remaining potato slices on top of the onions like overlapping fish scales, and season these with salt and pepper. Pour enough stock over the potatoes to just come up to the base of the topping (take a piece off to see this better), then brush them with melted butter.

Cover and bake for two hours (two and a half hours for mutton), then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp. Serve with pickled red cabbage.

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