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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hot Pot

This scrumptious winter dish is one of my mother’s specialties, and I only hope that someday I can make it as well as she does! It’s a rich meaty casserole topped with lightly crisped potato slices. Perfect for the end of a cold day, and much healthier than its rich taste would suggest.

Serves 6 people

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 2h 55 mins


400g shin beef (gravy beef)
400g lamb cutlets
4-6 tomatoes, sliced thickly
2 onions cut into rings (we use brown onions)
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
6 potatoes
1 teaspoon (5 mL) each of oregano, thyme and sweet basil
A few tablespoons of plain flour for browning
A little oil or margarine for browning
1 tablespoon cornflour (US: cornstarch)
Good stock (broth), enough to cover all ingredients in the pot. A good low-salt liquid stock from the supermarket is fine, but we usually use stock or gravy left over from a previous meal and frozen for future use, which makes for a much more flavoursome meal. If you’re using store-bought, I suggest a mixture of varieties – beef, vegetable and chicken stock together. You can also throw in other liquids such as left over drinking juice, juice from tinned fruits, and red wine, to add to the flavour.


1. Cut beef into 2-3cm (1 inch) cubes, and coat in plain flour.

2. Heat margarine or oil in the base of a large saucepan, add beef and stir quickly until browned.

3. Add lamb, tomatoes, onions, carrots and herbs to the beef in the saucepan, add just enough stock to cover, and simmer on the hotplate for 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 100 C / 210 F.

5. Remove the meat and vegetables from the stock with a slotted spoon, retaining the stock in the saucepan. Place meat and vegetables in an open-topped oven-proof dish (such as a pie dish). Place in oven and proceed immediately to next step.

6. Peel potatoes and cut into thick, round slices. Place potatoes in the stock in the saucepan, and boil for 15 mins. Remove potatoes from stock and reserve stock in saucepan.

7. Remove dish from oven and pile or layer the boiled potatoes on top of meat and vegetables. Pour in as much of the stock as will fit without overflowing the dish. Reserve remaining stock.

8. Place dish back in the oven, increase heat to 180 C / 350 F and cook for 40 minutes. Watch potatoes carefully in last 10 minutes to prevent burning.

9. Just before the dish is ready, reheat the stock remaining in the saucepan to use as gravy. You can thicken the gravy by using a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in half a cup of water, and poured into the boiling stock while stirring briskly.

10. Serve immediately. We usually have this with some boiled or steamed vegetables such as peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, silverbeet etc.

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