I made this next dish, Lancashire hotpot, only so I could use up a rather odd purchase I made at a health-food store in Brighton: vegan black pudding.
If you don't know what black pudding is, you're lucky - in its non vegan form, it's a sausage made of blood. Grim. (In its vegan form, I'm not entirely sure what it's made of - I forgot to write it down, though I remember that pearl barley figures in there.)
Funny how non-vegan ideas hang over into veganism - though I knew the black pudding was entirely vegan, I really couldn't bear to put it in my mouth and have a quick nibble. It went into my hotpot untasted!
So what's a hotpot, I hear you cry? (I hear those of you who haven't worked out from the name what it is cry, I should say.) In non-vegan world, it's a dish from Lancashire that involves meat (sometimes including offal, black pudding and shiz. Yeah, I know - ultra-grim.) and veggies topped with sliced potato being left to bake in a big casserole dish for ages on end.
Here's a quote from Wikipedia on the matter:
"Originating in the days of heavy industrialisation in Lancashire in the North West of England, it requires a minimum of effort to prepare. It is sometimes served at parties in England, because it is easy to prepare for a large number of people and is relatively inexpensive."I obviously don't go to the right parties. Or the people at Wikipedia go to some really freaking odd ones. "Just going through the checklist for the big party tonight - have we got the champagne fountain?" "Check." "Fire dancers and acrobats?" "Check." "What about the Lancashire hotpot?" "Oh nooooo!"
Just to be clear: this is never served at parties, unless maybe ones in the 18th century. This is served as a communal dish for a family, and you all grab a spoon and dig in, scrapping over who gets the potatoes on top.
So, here's the rough recipe:
1. Peel and slice two onions and peel and chunk a carrot. Fry in a little oil until softened, then add in a heaped dessertspoon of flour and cook for a couple more minutes.
2. Add in a pint or so of veggie stock and a goodly amount of vegan Worcestershire sauce. (Don't have any? Use a squirt of tomato ketchup, a little soy sauce and some tamarind paste will work. Don't have any tamarind paste? Erm...)
3. Simmer for a little while until thickened.
4. In the meantime, peel and slice two small parsnips into thick coins and layer them across the base of an overproof dish.
5. On top, put a layer of seitan slices and then some vegan black pudding.
7. Take the onion/carrot/stock mixture off the heat and spread half over the seitan.
8.Top with another layer of seitan and another layer of black pudding, and finish by pouring the remaining stock and stuff on top.
9. Slice two large baking potatoes into as thin slices as you can manage. Layer them on top.
10. Back the whole lot in the oven at 180C or so until the potato is cooked. THIS WILL TAKE FOREVER.