Winter Hotch-Potch. Even the name sounds comforting. This recipe is from William Kitchener M.D. and his 1827 Regency cook book, “The Cook’s Oracle” – Kitchener was also the author of the wonderfully titled book, “The Art Of Invigorating Life By Food”. His Oracle went into many print editions and his recipes were very popular in the Regency and Victorian periods. A ‘hotch-potch’ is a motley assortment of things, which came to define stews made with all the cooks leftovers – sometimes referred nowadays to as a Hot Pot.
Perhaps we should let the good Doctor himself explain his views on food and the recipes he recommends to us in his introduction to the Oracle, “The following Recipes, are not a mere marrowless collection of shreds and patches, of cuttings and pastings—but a bonâ-fide register of practical facts—accumulated by a perseverance, not to be subdued or evaporated by the igniferous Terrors of a Roasting Fire in the Dog-days:—in defiance of the odoriferous and calefaceous repellents of Roasting, Boiling,—Frying, and Broiling;—moreover, the author has submitted to a labour no preceding Cookery-Book-maker, perhaps, ever attempted to encounter,—having eaten each Receipt before he set it down in his Book.”
Kitchener’s Winter Hotch-Potch Recipe 1827
Take the best end of a neck or loin of mutton; cut it into neat chops; cut four carrots, and as many turnips into slices; put on four quarts of water, with half the carrots and turnips, and a whole one of each, with a pound of dried green peas, which must be put to soak the night before; let it boil two hours, then take out the whole carrot and turnip; bruise and return them; put in the meat, and the rest of the carrot and turnip, some pepper and salt, and boil slowly three-quarters of an hour; a short time before serving, add an onion cut small and a head of celery.
Winter Hotch Potch Recipe
- 750g lamb neck fillet, cut into 2.5cm cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g butter
- 2 small onions, chopped small (peeled)
- 4 carrots, chopped into thick circles (peeled)
- 1 carrot left whole (peeled)
- 4 small turnips, chopped into chunks (peeled)
- 1 small turnip left whole (peeled)
- 4 celery sticks chopped into chunks
- 250g of fresh shelled garden peas (if using frozen only add at the last minute)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 700ml of water
Preheat the oven to 120C (can also be left on the stove to cook)
Season the lamb chunks for the Hotch-Potch with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy-based casserole dish, add the lamb and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. Lower the heat and add the chopped onions, carrots and turnip to the pan and fry for 7 minutes, or until they begin to caramelise. (Leave the whole carrot and turnip out).
Pour in the vegetable stock and water. Add the whole carrot and whole parsnip. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the Hotch-Potch to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Place into the oven to cook for one and a half hours, or until the lamb is soft and tender (you could also leave on the hob to gently simmer in the casserole dish).
Take the casserole out of the oven, and remove the lid. Into a bowl take out the whole carrot and whole turnip, mash them down, or you can add a little of the hot stock to the blender and blend them. Return the carrot and turnip mash back to the pan, add in the chopped celery, and the peas (fresh peas go in now, not frozen, if using frozen peas add them for only three minutes at the end). Stir to break up the carrot and turnip mash into the stock. Taste the stock for seasoning, add any salt and pepper if required. Put the Hotch-Potch casserole dish back in the oven or return it to the stove to simmer. Leave it cook for another 45 minutes.
Serve this winter Hotch-Potch recipe into hot into bowls when the stew has reached the extra 45 minutes. Hotch Potch goes very well with freshly sliced home-made bread.