Lancashire hotpot with beer-braised cockles and cabbage

Not yet rated

Phil Fanning's gourmet Lancashire hotpot recipe produces a spectacular dish - technically dizzying and very tricky to pull off, even for the most advanced home cook. Nonetheless, it manages to infuse all of the flavours of a good hotpot - lamb, carrots, potato and cabbage (in this case in the form of a red cabbage gel), with a few dazzling extras on the side, such as a lamb sweetbread ballotine and beer-braised cockle gel.

First published in 2015




Beer braised cockles

Carrot and potato cake

Meat-glued lamb sweetbreads

  • 1kg lamb sweetbreads, heart variety, soaked overnight in milk
  • meat glue
  • vegetable oil

Braised neck

Cockle gel

  • ultratex

Clear potato discs

Gellan cabbage gel



  • Mandoline
  • Deep fat fryer
  • Muslin cloth
  • Juicer
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Metal rings
  • Dehydrator
  • Catering grade cling film
  • Sous vide equipment
  • Squeezy bottle
  • Chinois


First, prepare the beer braised cockles. Wash the cockles under cold running water and then soak for 2-3 hours to remove as much dirt as possible, changing the water every 30 minutes. Strain and set aside
Place the washed cockles, sliced shallot, thyme, beer and celery in a bowl. Place a large saucepan over a high heat until very hot. Have a matching saucepan lid ready for the next step
Tip the contents of the bowl into the hot pan and quickly put the lid on. Allow the liquid to come to the boil and cook for 1 minute, or until the cockles have just started to open
Immediately pour the cockles into a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid, then allow to cool
Pick out the cockles, removing the skirts, then wash the cockles and chill. Cover and refrigerate until required. Pass the cockle liquor through muslin cloth and reserve for the cockle gel and the carrot and potato cake
To make the carrot and potato cake, slice the carrots and potatoes to 2mm thick. Vacuum pac the sliced vegetables with 25g of the beer and cockle stock, herbs, fat and salt. Cook in a water bath at 80°C for 2 hours
Whilst still warm, remove from the bag and layer up the carrot and potato on a square piece of parchment paper, alternating the vegetables and dusting a thin layer of potato flour between each slice. Once layered and still warm, slice carefully into rectangles and place into a clean vacuum bag. Compress on the maximum pressure
  • potato flour for dusting
Prepare the sweetbreads by soaking in milk overnight to remove the impurities. Remove and dry thoroughly on kitchen towel before peeling the membrane from each sweetbread
Dust with a generous amount of meat glue to coat each sweetbread and layer across a large sheet of catering grade cling film. Roll carefully and tightly so there are no air bubbles, forming a 3cm thick ballotine. Tie off each end to seal
  • meat glue
Cook the ballotine in a water bath at 63°C for 45 minutes, then cool in an ice bath to refresh. Once cool, remove and refrigerate until required
For the braised lamb neck, heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan until very hot. Sear all sides of the lamb neck until evenly golden brown. Remove and set aside
Add a dash more oil to the same pan and caramelise the carrot, onion and garlic until dark golden brown. Add the wine, bring to a gentle boil and reduce by half
Add the necks back to the pan along with the stock, marjoram and pepper. Place into a preheated oven at 150°C/gas mark 2 for 2-3 hours or until tender and the meat is just falling off the bone
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to just above room temperature in the liquor. Carefully lift the neck from the liquor and strain the contents of the pan through a fine chinois into a clean pot. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil and reduce to a thin, gravy-like consistency
Remove all the meat from around the neck, ensuring there are no bones. Arrange the meat along the length of a large piece of cling film and roll into a neat 2cm thick ballotine. Tie off the ends and freeze until firm and the red cabbage gel is ready
Once frozen, remove and cut into 5cm lengths. Then, remove the cling film and skewer onto cocktail sticks. Return to the freezer until ready to dip in the cabbage gel
For the cockle gel, slowly sprinkle and whisk the Ultratex into the reserved cockle liquor until it has thickened enough to be piped. Refrigerate until required, but remove before serving to bring up to room temperature
  • ultratex
For the clear potato discs, boil the Ratte potato with its skin on, then remove and peel while still hot
Blitz the warm potato in a food processor until smooth, then place a small amount of the purée into a small vacpac bag. Roll through a pasta machine on the penultimate setting to form a very thin sheet of purée
Cut the sides of the bag off and carefully peel one layer of the bag away, leaving the sheet of purée intact. Stamp circles into the sheet with a pastry cutter and dehydrate the sheet until fully dried
To prepare the cabbage gel coating for the lamb neck, carefully sprinkle the two gellans and the xanthan into the beetroot and cabbage juices and whisk very well until fully incorporated, avoiding clumping. Transfer to a small pan and bring to the boil, adding small amounts of the vinegar to taste
Dip the frozen lamb neck ballotines into the boiling liquid a couple of times to build a decent layer of gel, then set aside to chill
For the lamb loin garnish, heat a cast iron pan over a low-medium heat, remove any sinew from the loin and place fat-side down in the pan. Allow the fat to render down from the loin for 3-5 minutes until golden. Turn to achieve the same colour on the other side
Place in a preheated oven set to 180°C/gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes. Remove and leave to rest for 3-4 minutes before slicing into 4 even portions. Season before plating
Before serving, reheat the carrot and potato cake in an 80°C water bath for 10 minutes
To finish the sweetbreads, remove from the cling film and pat-dry with paper towel. Then, pan-fry in oil until golden and crispy on the outside
  • vegetable oil
Deep fry the potato dics at 180°C for 10 seconds and drain on kitchen towel. Season before plating
To plate, remove the carrot and potato cake from the bag and place into the centre of each plate. Warm the lamb neck rounds under a medium-hot grill in a small tray with a splash of water and a covering of cling film
Place the seared sweetbread and lamb loin garnish at one end of the cake, followed by small pipings of the cockle gel. Finally, add the beer braised cockles, lamb neck, potato crisps, micro-cress and a drizzle of the braising reduction. Serve immediately
First published in 2015

Phil Fanning remains one of the brightest, most interesting chefs of the British food scene, creating beautiful, intricate plates of food at the magnificent Paris House in Woburn Abbey.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.