Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
A HOT pot is really just a term used in Northern England for a pie. Usually they are individual pies, with a flaky pastry, and can contain anything once it’s beef. These hot pot pies are delicious and very simple to make. You can easily substitute the beef for chicken or pork and they will also work well. You can also make them in advance and store them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. I have also frozen hot pots before, then cooked straight from the freezer, and they still are great! If cooking straight from the freezer then it’s 45 minutes at 180oC.
Lancashire Hot Pots
300g chopped beef pieces
200g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 packet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large frying pan on high heat. Add the beef, mushrooms, onion, thyme and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until everything has browned nicely. Add the tomato, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. The tomatoes will have broken down, and the mixture will have thickened.
Divide the mixture between two deep ramekin dishes or individual pie dishes. Then cut two pastry circles, one centimetre bigger than the diameter of each dish. Brush the edge of each dish with the beaten egg, then place a lid on top of each. Brush the tops of the pies with a little more beaten egg to finish.
Place the pies in a preheated oven at 200oC for around 20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed and risen.
Cheesy Baked ‘Mac n Cheese’
50g Dried Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. Butter
350g dried macaroni pasta
5og plain flour
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g vintage white cheddar
50g grated parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 220C.
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water, taking 3 minutes off the recommended cooking time on the side of the pack. Drain well and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute over a medium heat. Then add the flour and using a wooden spoon stir the flour vigorously for a minute so that it mixes well into the melted butter and that the flour cooks a little bit out.
Gradually add the milk and whisk as you do so that the flour has no lumps. Simmer for around five minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the flour is cooked and there are no lumps.
Then remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheddar cheese. Once well mixed add in the cooked and drained pasta and mix well making sure that all the pasta is coated in sauce. Then tip the pasta into a large ovenproof dish.
Mix the parmesan with the dried breadcrumbs and scatter over the top of the pasta. Season with some freshly ground salt and black pepper then place in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese has browned and the dish is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and serve straight away.