Most people in the U.K are familiar with Lancashire Hot Pot made more famous by a barmaid called Betty (now deceased) in a popular British soap drama called Coronation Street. It was Betty's signature dish at the Rovers Return Inn - a English pub.
Hot Pot is a slow cooked recipe traditionally made with lamb and vegetables, but as this is a vegetarian blog I made mine with some vegan mock 'lamb' meat pieces. I also decided to give this Hot Pot a Welsh touch with the addition of leeks and good Welsh cheese.
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Welsh Cawl Hot Pot
Serves 4 - 6
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large white onions, finely sliced
1 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
2 - 3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
150g-200g Soy Schnetzel (not reconstituted) or soya chunks (re-hydrated and sliced in half) OR 4 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced into thick strips.
Salt and pepper to taste
1- 11/2 pint of good vegetable stock
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin
Optional: 100g - 160g Welsh cheese such as Caerphilly and Cheddar, or mix of both
Optional: Fresh thyme leaves for garnish
In a wide pan, heat the oil then stir in the onions and saute until it begins to soften, then stir in the leek and carrots and saute until it appears translucent. Stir in the herbs and allow to mingle with the vegetables, before stirring in the mock 'lamb' meat pieces and 1/2 of the vegetable stock. Season to taste and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to cook for a few minutes for the mock meat to absorb the stock. Its important not to overcook the vegetarian meat as it will slow cook in the oven.
Turn off heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole pot with a fitted lid.
Layer the thinly sliced potatoes over the top, seasoning with a little salt and pepper in between the layers as you go. when you have used up all the potatoes, pour over the remaining vegetable stock and place in preheated oven gas mark 4/180oc for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove from the oven and scatter over the cheese (or vegan alternative); or just drizzle over some olive oil (or butter) , then return to the oven with the lid to cook for a further 15 minutes or until golden or if using cheese bubbling brown.