Serve over fluffy white rice or simply just as is with some steamed carrots and peas.
Notes: – “Please read before you begin”..
Mutton is best for this dish as it does not fall apart during the long slow cooking process – is rich and full of flavor but you may use lamb if mutton is unavailable. Suitable cuts of meat to use are: Neck, best-end or middle-neck, meaty chump chops, knuckles, shoulder, shin or loin. – My favorite are whole best end chump chops which are meatier – Keep your chops in whole pieces. Do not exceed a temperature of 170 C – The higher the temperature goes, the more your meat will shrink, giving you less servings and spoiling the flavor of the dish. This type of dish is best suited to slow heat cooking. 😉
Adding sheep tail fat gives a delicious flavour boost if available.
I have used a formula of double the weight in potatoes to meat and an equal weight in onions to meat – Do NOT skimp on the onions! – You may replace some onions with same weight in leeks which will add an extra flavor boost to your dish!
Waxy floury potatoes are best for this dish which may be placed beneath your top layer of chip potatoes. Chip potatoes will give you a crispier topping if placed on top. Which gives reason to use 2 kinds of potatoes if you wish. The waxy floury potatoes burst open disintegrating into the rest of your pot, aiding as a natural thickener without the need for adding flour. 😉
For Extra Potato Topping:You may grill or bake an extra potatoes by tripling the weight of your potatoes to meat but only topping your hot-pot with double the weight of potatoes to meat and using the extra 1/3 rd of potato slices placed separately in the same manner onto a large round pizza pan or oven tray placed under grill or on a trivet in your halogen covection oven with an extender ring, then placing the halogen element head onto extender ring – You may then crisp up your 2nd potato topping until golden – brushing with melted fat and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Overlapping potatoes like fish scales covering entire pan. 😉
You may replace chicken stock with bouillon cubes, to taste but will not get that lovely natural deep rich brown gravy color which comes from natural gelatinized chicken stock. Chicken fat may be replaced with pork fat (lard) or beef fat (suet) or half oil to butter. Thinly slice your onions and potatoes on a mandolin or do this by hand if you don’t have one.
You may pack in layers – meat, onions, potatoes – meat, onions and ending with layer of potatoes = 2 layers of each but I find with 900 g meat it was not worth doing.
If you are doing your hot-pot on stove-top: Place a simmer ring under your pot to prevent from burning or if you have an old 1970’s vintage snackwich or waffle iron maker just unclasp the metal plates and use that under your pot. 😉
You may even cook this overnight or put it on before leaving for work over a very low heat if using mutton and wake up or come home to a lovely smelling house! 😉 If you want Delish – Keep it SIMPLE! Do NOT go adding any extras or you will really spoil this dish! 😉
If you don’t own a restaurant and don’t need to impress – you may skip the above steps and follow this recipe: My big sister Debbie’s but I am afraid to say your dish is going to look a bit dull and bland although it will still taste great. It just won’t have that extra special browned look with the flavor boost which comes from your naturally browned chicken stock and fats = your gravy color.
Genius Tip: If you own an electric wok with self regulating temperature and a halogen covection oven with an extender ring the two double up together and act as both a slow cooker, oven and griller all in one. 😉 Saving you loads in electricity! – All you need do is place your extender ring onto the inner side walls of your wok and then bring over your element head to fit perfectly onto your extender ring and ta-da! You may then crisp up your potato topping all in one pot being your wok. I personally have not used a stove-top in years. My wok acts as my pot, slow cooker and oven in which I bake my lasagnas, moussakas, cottage pies, all my stews and casseroles. I have even baked cheesecakes perfectly in my wok placing on the extender ring together with element head and setting it from bottom and top just like an oven! I use a 5 liter Kambrook Wok which I fitted together in same store when purchased – I use them every day. I just cannot be without them – that I even purchased a second one when I saw them in Clicks (South Africa) recently as I hadn’t seen them in a while. My first Kambrook Wok which I am still using hasn’t given me a days problems since purchased in 2007 – However I am on my 3rd halogen oven – No cleaning of stove-tops for me. 😉
80 g Chicken fat, rendered according to fattiness of meat
900 g mutton, chump chops (best end)
900 g onions
600 ml water
1800 g (1.8 kg) potatoes (add potatoes once water is in, not to wash off starches)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (Your choice – black or white)
In your roasting pan or 5 liter pot or wok – brown your meat over a medium to low heat in approximately half of your browned chicken stock to fat (schmaltz) – You may add as much as you like and once meat is browned but still very juicy, toss in your onions with your meat and keep tossing to blend it all through – just to partially cook them and to give onions a lovely rich golden brown stain. Taste for seasoning – adding more fat or stock as needed. Do not crisp meat or dry it out and do not stir-fry it over a high heat – we don’t want the meat to shrink! – It must remain moist and juicy with just the outer surface slightly cooked but browned. This is where your natural chicken stock comes in as it acts as both a browning and flavoring sauce all in one! 😉
Peel potatoes and place in water to prevent oxidation until ready to slice – Once they are sliced do NOT wash off their starches as this will form the glue that keeps your potato topping together.
Peel your onions and slice them on a mandolin into thin rings or by hand if you don’t have one.
Slice potatoes on a mandolin or slice into thin rings by hand.
Add your 600 ml water to pot before layering in your potatoes as you don’t want to wash off your potato starches. You may blend a little browned chicken stock into it for extra flavor or chicken bouillon cubes if you don’t have any real stock.
Layer your potato slices like fish scales covering the entire surface of pot. Season with salt and pepper and dot with chicken schmaltz. Close lid tightly and bake 160 – 170 or on a low heat. 5 – 6 hours if using mutton – or – 2 – 3 hours for lamb or until meat tests done with a long thin metal skewer and then uncover and bake / grill a further 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp or just serve as is – choice is yours.
If cooking on stove top place a simmer ring or metal plate beneath a heavy bottomed pot and keep on very low heat. Do NOT disturb.
Your dish is done when most of its liquid has been absorbed and it sits in its own rendered stock, fats and gravy
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