This is a good meat and potatoes vegan alternative, perfect for a dreary rainy day, ideal for those days when you want a warming and filling meal. Prepare it on a lazy Sunday morning and it'll be ready for lunch, served up alongside your favourite steamed veg for a meat-free alternative to a well-known British dish.
The Lancashire hotpot is typical pub grub here in the UK, generally made with lamb or sometimes beef, a dish vegetarians rarely get to enjoy. It's a cheap and easy dish to make that's filled with onions and any mix of root vegetables, cooked over low heat for a number of hours to create a deep and rich gravy stew.
If you're trying to impress omnivores who aren't familiar with tempeh (and let's be honest, it's not something everyone loves) I reckon a hearty seitan would work well (if anyone tries this variation, be sure to let me know). Alternatively eliminate the tempeh altogether and replace with more vegetables. This is a pretty forgiving recipe in terms of precise quantities, so a little more or less of something won't cause much harm.
Don't let the nearly three hour cooking time turn you off. The first two hours are at a relatively low 140 degrees C, enough time for the ingredients to be well cooked and their flavours to infuse well. That final 40 or 50 minutes sees the spuds brown up and obtain a nicy crispy texture.
Tempeh Lancashire Hotpot
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celcius (285 F).
- Combine the 300 ml portion of broth, yeast extract, worcestershire, tamari, and thyme in a bowl and set aside.
- Add the 200 ml broth and wine to a large frying or saute pan, and add the tempeh, coriander, and bay leaf. Simmer at medium-high for 10-12 minutes, or until most (not necessarily all) liquid has cooked off. Agitate the pan from time to time and/or spoon some of the broth over the tempeh pieces as they won't be fully submerged.
- Remove the tempeh pieces with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a plate. Pour any remaining juices into a 7 x 10 inch oven dish (or something vaguely that size). You can add a bit of extra broth, water, or wine to deglaze the pan if you'd like- just add it all to the oven dish, including the bay leaf.
- Don't turn the heat off. Just rinse the pan and add the tablespoon of oil and pop back on the hob. Re-add the tempeh pieces and carefully fry all sides until browned. They'll be darkly coloured with wine so it may be hard to spot the browning, but the tempeh will turn a deep, rich red. Once browned on all (or most) sides, after 5-7 minutes, use the spatula or slotted spoon to remove to the oven dish.
- Turn the heat down the medium and add the 1 teaspoon of oil. Tip the onion and carrot in and fry until the onion are translucent and the veg are beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables relatively evenly. Pour in the liquid ingredients from step two and whisk to mix well (a few small lumps are okay). Cook until the gravy begins to thicken, whisking or stirring often. You may need to turn the heat up a little to achieve this.
- Pour the gravy with veg over the tempeh. Top the casserole with an overlapping tightly knot layer of potato slices. Spray or brush with some extra oil, cover with a lid or foil, and bake for two hours.
- After two hours, remove the dish from the oven and ditch the lid or foil. Up the oven heat to 200 C (400 F) and once the oven has preheated to this, stick the hotpot back in there for 40-50 minutes. You'll know when dinner is ready when the potatoes are brown and crispy.