Traditional Beef Hotpot

The Lancashire hotpot is one of the most widely recognised, and loved, British recipes. Traditionally it is a mutton or lamb based dish which includes vegetables and is covered with a layer of sliced potatoes before serving. This is my beef version of the Lancashire hotpot, though it is probably rather far in aesthetical terms from the original dish. The reason I have given it the name ‘hotpot’ is because both dishes share an ideal – they are inexpensive, easy to prepare and extremely hearty and delicious. I tell you, dishes once intended for labourers in heavy industry do work rather well at this time of year.

Quite a few of my readers have been telling me that it’s still rather warm where they come from and that recipes such as this may have to be put on hold for a little while. I’m sorry that you have such inconsiderate weathermen, but it’s getting particularly chilly here in Blighty. It got so cold yesterday that we actually had to put the heating on for the first time in months, I think we may even have had a frost a couple of mornings ago.

You’ll probably want to set aside roughly 4 hours when attempting this dish as, in my opinion, the beef should be cooked for no less than 2 ½ hours, though 3 hours or more is favourable. Indeed, I believe the one pictured simmered for no less than 4 hours – this made the beef exquisitely tender. Beef is just one of those foods, like mushrooms, that can never be overcooked, but are rather easy to undercook. The addition of cannellini beans to this dish was in the spirit of frugality since I didn’t want to go out and buy vast swathes of stewing beef – one of my top frugal tips is about learning to portion your meat intake. Many recipes for beef hotpot call for a good slosh of red wine, this is entirely optional – I didn’t add any and it turned out to be quite rich and tasty enough.

Beef Hotpot

Serves 4


• 350g of good quality stewing beef, cubed

• 150g button mushrooms, quartered

• 500g potatoes, roughly chopped with skins intact

• 2 large onions, roughly chopped

• A pint of stock, beef is preferable

• 2-3 bay leaves

• A couple of well sized sprigs of thyme

• 1 tbsp tomato puree

• 1 tbsp plain flour

• 1 400g tin of cannellini beans, or equivalent from dried

• Seasoning

• Oil


1. Seal the beef in a little oil over a high heat in a large casserole pot. Add the onions and cook until softened. Throw in the potatoes, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme, before covering with stock. Stir in the puree and flour, cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for 2-4 hours. If it needs a little extra thickening add a touch more flour.

2. Around 20 minutes before serving add the cannellini beans and season to taste. This dish is quite filling enough on its own, though it can be served with bread.

Cost: The entire hotpot weighs in at around £5.40, most of which is spent on the beef. I suppose the impact of the beef could be restrained by using lesser quality meat, but in my opinion that isn’t something worth skimping on. Remember, one relatively expensive ingredient won’t destroy the frugality of a whole dish.


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40 comments on “Traditional Beef Hotpot

  1. mschristiner
    October 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Looks great, I must try it!

  2. cookinginsens
    October 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

    This looks absolutely wonderful! I want a bite! I’ll have to make something like this for my husband we he comes. It’s cold here.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Thanks, Sens. You shall, it may not look as pretty as other meals, but it tastes amazing.

  3. thebigfatnoodle
    October 18, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Great recipe for this time of year, especially on a nippy day like today, brrrrr!

  4. recipeadaptors
    October 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    This would be great to make in a slow cooker.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

      It would indeed, though I don’t really want to get one – I like cooking how things were intended to be cooked, I don’t know why…

  5. Kimby
    October 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Hearty and delicious! I liked your addition of cannellini beans to extend the dish. It’s turning colder here now, too — this will hit the spot! (Along with a slice of that chocolate tart that you featured earlier for dessert… 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

      They work really well, providing a little extra protein as well.

  6. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    October 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    This is my kind of dish!! some white rice and we’re on!

  7. ALM Tree
    October 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Looks absolutely amazing! Brings me back home to my days in England (how I miss them!!). We’ll definitely have to try it here. Thanks for posting.

  8. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    October 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I bet it’s fabulous with lamb, but a good beef stew is just hard to beat. Looks great.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Everything is made better with lamb, alas lamb is more expensive – beef is incredible as well though. 😀

  9. ohmygoodygoodness
    October 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This looks fabulous! I have been wanting to try some lamb dishes, I may have to make this one.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Do, it was delicious. So warming and hearty.

  10. notesfromrumbleycottage
    October 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I have been messing around with soups, as of late, and this looks like an excellant one to try. I, too, have become a fan of slow cooking It makes busy days easier.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

      It does indeed – I’m a little hooked to soups to be honest!

  11. foodnotherstuff
    October 18, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Yumm ! I just made a brazilian version of this dish last week, but in the pressure cooker! Amazing how different cultures share similar recipes!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Brazilian?! Awesome stuff. Quite a few different cultures have similar things actually.

  12. thecompletecookbook
    October 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    It’s incredible the depth of flavour and tenderness that is produced when slow cooking a stew! Lovely recipe.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Absolutely – give me slow cooked meat over a steak any day!

  13. homemadeadventure
    October 19, 2011 at 3:29 am

    not what I was expecting from a hot pot, but looks warm and hearty!

  14. Bluejellybeans
    October 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Yumm! This recipe sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. phoodietravelogue
    October 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Have you been to Northcotes near Clitheroe, Lancashire?
    They say it’s THE place for hotpot 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      No I haven’t, but if I’m ever in the area I shall. Thanks for the link.

  16. calamityjennie
    October 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    this really looks delicious. can’t wait to try it.

  17. mscrankypants
    October 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    sounds like the perfect dish for cold weather! Can I omit the beans or replace with something else?

    • frugalfeeding
      October 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      Of course you can! You could add carrots, or lentils, or more meat!

  18. movita beaucoup
    October 20, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Oh, yum! I must confess, whenever someone talks about hotpots on Coronation Street, I really, really want one for myself…

  19. Karina
    October 22, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Yum! This literally just made me get up and go take some stewing beef out of my freezer for tomorrow. I’m going to do it in my crockpot though as I need to go out and do some errands tomorrow

    • frugalfeeding
      October 22, 2011 at 10:30 am

      That’s a good idea! I hope you enjoy it, please let me know 😀

  20. sonnyspade
    November 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    FF, this looks rich, hearty and delicious!

    Quick question – what does it mean “seasoning” in your ingredient list. Is that a term for salt and pepper that a Yankee like me just doesn’t get?

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