Beef & thyme (Lancashire) hotpot

I know this is a cheat on a fantastic British classic and I should be ashamed as my family are from Lancashire. My gran will be going mad if she saw this.

Thing is lamb used to be cheap, but no longer. Even the cheap cuts have been pushed up by chefs championing cheaper cuts like the neck.

Recipe #12: Beef and thyme (Lancashire) hotpot

  • 700g of British stewing beef (£2.14)
  • 3 medium onions (48p)
  • 25g fresh lemon thyme (68p)
  • 900g of white potatoes (£1)

The cupboard staples...

Salt and pepper, 1 beef stock cube and a little flour.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to just £4.30 (cheapest yet!).


  • Now I know this is traditionally made with lamb. But lamb is expensive so I've given this British classic a frugal twist!
  • Get the oven pre-heated to 170C.
  • Now take the beef and trim off any excess fat and slice into strips or chunks (you choose!). Once this is done, add some oil to a heavy bottomed pan and get it really hot (almost smoking). Toss the beef in a little seasoned flour and fry off in the pan for 2 minutes. You want a really good colour on the beef. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  • Now take the potatoes and cut into 2cm slices, thinly slice the onions and finely chop the thyme.
  • Next up is assembling the dish. Take a hotpot dish (3 litres) and start with about a quarter of the beef at the bottom, then a layer of onions, a layer of potatoes and a sprinkle of thyme. Season each layer with black pepper and salt and repeat until all the ingredients have been used.
  • Finally pour over roughly 700ml of boiling beef stock. It may take a little more or a little less. You want the stock to just touch the layer of potatoes at the top.
  • Loosely cover with foil and place in the oven for 2 hours at 170C. For the final 20 minutes brush a little butter on the top and place back in the oven at 220C.
  • Happy eating!


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