England Day 3 – Lancashire Hotpot

Day three in England we tried another popular dish with a cool name- Lancashire Hotpot. This dish is encompassed by layers of beef or mutton, carrot and onion, thinly sliced potatoes, and an herb butter. Traditionally mutton or lamb kidneys was used due to its accessibility along with other root vegetables. Another comforting dish that is hearty on its own or can be paired with other vegetable side dishes. The name “hotpot” is thought to have one of two meanings- either derived from the word “hodgepodge” due to the layers of ingredients or named after the dish used to make the stew. Either way the name is just as charming as the dish.

The dish was born during the Industrial Revolution in Lancashire. Although the local business of cotton was successful, the workers were paid poorly. Due to the low income and long work hours the creation of this meal gave the workers energy after stewing all day. Potatoes were extremely available due to their ease to grow and really give beauty to the layers of the dish. It is key to slice them thin to give them a crispness.

For the recipe I referenced the cooking time was significantly less than what had been done in the past, but I’m sure their are more traditional ways to prepare the meal that includes hours of slow cooking. I used stew beef as we are not fans of lamb and it was easy to cook. I liked that I used one pot essentially to cook everything. I removed the cooked elements and resembled them in the neat layers you see here. Man do I love my Dutch oven!

What a classic European dish. The meat was tender, check; the gravy was smooth, check, the potatoes were buttery, check check! The variety of veggies was solid and well seasoned. We rated this one 9/10! 🤩

Lancashire Hotpot

Look no further for a hearty meal that will keep you warm on a cold winter's night. This is a crowd pleaser!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp reserved for brushing
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb lamb/beef I used stew beef, traditionally lamb neck/shoulder is used
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock hot
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to preference
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1.5 lb potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp thyme

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325. Melt butter and veggie oil in oven safe pot/dutch oven on medium low heat. Fry meat until lightly browned then remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add onions to pain cooking until soft stirring occasionally. Then return meat to the pot and add the flour allowing to cook for a minute. Add stock, bay leaves, seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce mixing well. Bring mixture to gentle boil. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes covered.
  • Once 30 minutes have passed add the carrots. Layer the thinly sliced potatoes starting along the outside and working into the center. Top with melted butter and thyme (or any other herbs you'd like). Place back in the oven, covered for 1 hour.
  • After an hour turn heat up to 400 and remove cover allowing it to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with salad or other veggies and enjoy!

England Day 2 – Bubble and Squeak

Could a recipe with a name like this be bad? This English classic can be enjoyed at any time of the day and is named after the sound it makes while cooking over a fire. Traditionally either Brussel sprouts or shredded cabbage, thin cut beef, and mashed potatoes made up the trifecta that is “bubble and squeak” but this has since developed over the years. Of course in modern times other vegetables, different cuts of meat, various cooking oils/fats have been used.

Essentially you make a mashed potato “pancake” much like Irish boxty. We took the original recipe’s idea and fried an egg to serve on top which isn’t a usual B & P ingredient. This is a great dish to make if you have leftover potatoes! If you notice it wants to break apart using a tablespoon or two of flour will help. Another way this recipe strayed from the classic was the use of smoked bacon vs thinly cut fried beef (no complaint here). We also suggest trying it with ketchup.. sorry if that is a disgrace England 🤷‍♀️

Another day, another potato pancake. This was similar to others we had tried, but unlike the others it broke apart while I tried to make them. I thought egg and flour would have helped this dish out, but it was good nonetheless. The ingredients paired well and makes for good breakfast food. Ian discovered these buggers are great with ketchup! This one got a rating of 7/10 -8/10 with ketchup 😛

(118) Guernsey – Crunchy Potato Peel Pie

The island of Guernsey is apart of the islands of the English Channel found between France and England. It is apart of the Bailiwick of Guernsey which is a British Crown Dependency. Although English can be spoken on the island, the locals also speak a native language known as Guernésiais, their own variation of French. Guernsey is also known for one of the largest tidal ranges in the world of 33ft.

Saint Peter Port, Guernsey. Source: Insightguides.com

I’m sure you’ve heard of Guernsey cows, these cows are native to the island and are known for their rich dairy products with high protein and butterfat quantities. As for particular cuisine of the island it was difficult to find, but I found for the Channel Islands collectively local seafood and dairy products. There is a popular dish called “bean jar” from Guernsey which is slow cooked beans that traditionally was cooked over night in the oven and eaten for breakfast. Guernsey bean jar has been around for centuries and is one of the better known dishes.

I decided to try “potato peel pie” which caught my eye as I was scouring for recipes. There are several variations, but I picked one that had the peels on top which was appealing (pun intended) because the potential for a heavenly crispy top layer. The origins of the pie comes from the WWII time period when food was rationed. At the time Guernsey was occupied by Germany making food even more hard to come by. Most farm animals were taken away so farmers relied on their crops which included potatoes. Beet root can be found in a lot of the recipes, but the one I decided on had omitted it.

The cooking process is simple, just a lot of prep work. I used my mandolin to get evenly cut potatoes. I opted for cheddar cheese to get that nice rich flavor. You don’t have to use a baking dish, a pan works too but it could alter your cooking time. I thought dish since the recipe is for a “pie.”

We loved how unique this dish was! The crispy potato peels on top brought a fun texture to the meal and the cheese of course made the potatoes very creamy. The onions also were a good pairing and brought more dimension to the flavor profile. What a great way to use veggie scraps too! I will definitely think twice before I toss potato skins and see if I can repurpose them for a crunchy topping! We rated this one 8.5/10 🔥🥔

Next we head southeast to Israel!

Potato Peel Pie – Guernsey

Don't throw out the potato peels! This dish uses all of the potato- consisting of layers of thinly sliced potato, onions, and cheese this pie is topped with potato peels. It is baked in the oven for a nice crispy crust.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb potatoes thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese I used cheddar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to preference
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter diced
  • parsley to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 390 and grease pie dish, set aside.
  • Wash potatoes with water and peel them setting the peels aside in a separate bowl. Thinly slice potatoes- a mandolin works great to get perfect consistency!
  • Thinly slice onions and set aside. Grate cheese if needed and set aside. Layer potatoes, onions, and cheese with desired amount of salt and pepper per layer.
  • Add flour and additional salt and pepper with potato peels mixing well to evenly distribute over peels. Place peels on top of the layered potatoes, onions, and cheese.
  • Lastly pour the milk over the pie and sprinkle the bread crumbs and butter evenly over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes rotate pie (if not convection) and bake for an additional hour at a reduced heat of 350. The potatoes should be fork tender in the center when its done.
  • Allow pie to cool for at least 5 minutes and enjoy! This dish can be eaten alone or makes for a great side dish, I'm looking at you Thanksgiving! 👀
Keyword Pie, Potato, Potato Peel Pie

(117) Madagascar – Viande Hachée et Pomme de Terre à la Malgache (Minced Meat and Madagascan Potatoes)

Madagascar is an island of Africa found off the coast of Mozambique and is surrounded by smaller islands Comoros, Mayotte, Reunion, and Mauritius. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and has very diverse wildlife, a good portion of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Source: wereldreis.net

Madagascan cuisine is a reflection of the cultures found on the island. There are 18 ethnic groups all of which have there own particular traditional foods and cooking styles. Their cuisine has three main influences: Chinese, French, and Indian. Traditionally rice is accompanied with every meal and seasoning is sparce, salt in particular is rarely used, us Americans couldn’t imagine.. Fresh sugar cane, fruits, vegetables (asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and cabbage) and yams are grown on the island. Fish and beef is also consumed here.

To represent Madagascar I found this recipe for viande hachée et pomme de terre à la malgache which translates to “minced meat with Madagascan potatoes.” It is a specialty of Madagascar with a spicy tomato sauce and hearty mix of potatoes and beef. I had originally cooked this with another recipe that is similar but is no longer available, that is why you see the inconsistencies with the ingredients I used.

The ingredients are simple and relatively inexpensive. Cooking is easy and can be completed during the work week.

The meal was unfortunately underwhelming to us. The consistency was different and would probably be better with smaller potato pieces. There was a mild heat that we enjoyed but needed more salt and pepper for sure- 6.5/10 from us.

Kenya Day 2 – Kenyan Pilau

Pilau is a festive and celebratory dish of Eastern Africa. Prepared with either beef or chicken, the dish has tons of seasoning. This rice dish is unlike its’ sister Indian pilau since it lacks curry powder making it less spicy.

The origins of pilau are rooted in Swahili culture. There is debate on weather pilau originated in the Middle East or Africa. However, with further research Indians/Middle Easterners likely brought this dish to Africa and it was then adapted by the locals with what ingredients were more readily available.

This stew-like meal was easy to follow along. I think I should have cooked the liquids down more to dry out the rice as it was intended. The aroma of the spices roasting in the skillet was very enticing.

We thought this meal had an awesome spice profile with cardamom being the stand out. There was a little more moisture (sorry to anyone who hates the word) than anticipated, but at least the meat was tender! 😅 We rated this Kenyan meal 8.5/10

Kenyan Pilau

A flavorful rice dish with beef and hearty vegetables. Recipe included for pilau masala spice blend
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Spice Mix (Pilau Masala)

  • 1 tsp clove
  • 2 tbsp cumin seed or 2 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorn seeds
  • 12 cardamom pods or 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Rice Pilau

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 potatoes cubed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 hot pepper finely chopped (I used jalapeno)
  • 1 tbsp pilau masala
  • 2 beef stock cubes see below
  • 4 cups water or beef stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1lb beef sirloin cubed
  • 3 roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

Pilau Masala

  • Combine whole ingredients if using and place in pan on low heat. Allow to roast until fragrant.
  • Place all ingredients in a grinder and combine. You will likely have leftover seasoning- you may save this in an airtight container.

Rice Pilau

  • Heat a stock pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and allow to heat. Add onions and fry making sure to brown, but not burn them. This can take 10-15 minutes
  • Add in pepper, ginger, and garlic allowing to cook until fragrant. Then add beef, spice blend, beef stock cubes (if using), cilantro, bay, and salt. Mix well and cook until beef caramelizes. Make sure to stir often, cook 8-10 minutes.
  • Add in tomatoes and cook until their liquid has been released, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in potatoes and water (or broth) bringing mixture to a boil. Stir in rice and cover reducing heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Mix all ingredients well and serve!
Keyword Kenya, Kenyan, pilau, rice

(110) Luxembourg – Brun Lapskaus (Brown Stew)

Source: audleytravel.com

Today’s dish is from Luxumbourg, a small European country which is encompassed by France, Belgium, and Germany. It is known for being a very wealthy country due to its banking, industrial and steel sectors. Although it’s smaller than the state of Rhode Island it is full of historical forests, castles, and caverns.

The cuisine reflects its’ neighboring countries and immigrants from Portugal and Italy. Fresh water fish, beef, and poultry are commonly seen in their cooking and are considered a very important part of the meal. Many staple dishes here have root vegetables and potatoes, today’s dish is no different!

Today’s recipe was difficult to find. For whatever reason finding a more authentic dish of Luxembourg posed as a challenge, I was able to find this to try. I also found it seasonably appropriate and great for when you’re snowed in like I am currently- under 2 ft of snow! The tender beef is the show stopper here and complimented by a medley of vegetables.

The preparation and cooking was pretty simple. I opted to bring more color to the dish by purchasing the rainbow carrots and generously garnishing the stew with parsley. There’s tedious chopping, but in this dish it can be overlooked as the complexity is low.

We thought the stew was lovely and had a mild sweetness from the butter. The parsnips and carrots had flavors that stood out among the rest. The parsley lightened our palates and the stew. Overall it was a well rounded wholesome stew that was well seasoned, it was rated 8.25/10.

(105) Sweden – Svenska Köttbullar

Stockholm, Sweden – Source: Prettywildworld

Sweden, a country of Scandinavia is found neighboring Finland and Norway and the Baltic and North Seas. Sweden is known for its vast forests and bountiful lakes. Interestingly Sweden is an importer of waste and recycles, composts, or incinerates all but 1% of waste. That being said their cities tend to be cleaner than others across the nation with Stockholm being one of the cleanest (Sweden’s capitol).

The food of Sweden is known for focusing on dairy, bread, meat, seafood, and berry products. Lingonberry in particular is berry native to Northern Europe and is featured in this dish. It is a country known for foraging and many citizens participate in this. Some Swedish staples besides lingonberries included pickled herring, crispbread, pea soup, and crayfish. Of course meat balls are very popular here too but did you know they actually don’t originate in Sweden?

Swedish meatballs originate from the Ottoman Empire which is now present day Turkey. More recently there was a debate on how Swedish svenska köttbullar is and apparently the Swedish King Charles XII brought this recipe from his exile in the Ottoman Empire back to Sweden. Lingonberries however are as Swedish as it gets. This country favorite which is also the national dish is what we are making today. You can find the recipe here.

Cooking wasn’t too complicated, the meatball making was pretty standard and so was the gravy. Butter is the key and important to enhance the sweetness and richness of the dish. Once the gravy is made add the meatballs in and allow them to get fully coated. I decided to serve my meatballs on top of mashed potatoes, but I have seen it served on the side too.

Dang this was a yummy one! We appreciated the sweetness that the lingonberry brought to a hearty meal. I find it comparable to cranberry sauce with gravy on Thanksgiving! The meatballs were delicious and the gravy was sweet and creamy- a perfect balance of sweetness and tang! We thought this meal was worthy of 8.75/10 for a rating!

Ireland Day 4 – Dublin Coddle with Garlic Cheddar Herb Soda Bread

The last Irish meal is a layered, boiled dish that dates back to the Irish famine in the late 1700s. It was like many other meals at the time thrown together with whatever was on hand. This could have been anything from chicken broth, beer, or milk- today we use Guinness of course!

The word coddle comes from the French word “caudle” which translates to boil, stew, or parboil. The closest thing to bangers I could find were these bratwurst. These were placed on the top of the layer potatoes, bacon, and onions. The recipe I used can be found here. There are many variations, this one seeming to be the most traditional.

As for the soda bread this beautiful creation is named for the use of baking soda as the raising agent vs traditional yeast. Interestingly, soda bread originated in Northern America by Native Americans using pearl ash which is found in ashes of wood to leaven the bread. Soda bread was first made in Ireland in the 1830s when baking soda was introduced to the country.

It is believed by cutting a cross on the top of bread it will ward off evil and protect the household. The cross also has practical reasons to help heat the deepest part of the dough and allow the bread to expand easier as it rises. Soda bread is an ideal side kick to a savory stew to help absorb the flavorful juices! If you wish to try soda bread too you can find that recipe here. Along with the bread we roasted up some carrots to accompany our meal.

Our last Irish meal we shared with our dear friends which served up nicely with a glass of red wine. I know I sound like a broken record but this was another very hearty dish with the beer and bacon as stronger flavors. The Irish soda bread had a nice herby/garlicy tones that competed in a more subtle way with the juices of the rich meal. Overall it was a more simple meal but a solid pairing. We rated it 8.25/10

Ireland Day 3 – Irish Boxty

For Ireland’s third dish I bring you more potatoes! This simple and tasty dish was first made in the 1700s and was easy enough to make due to the use of potatoes, a widely available staple.

The first preparations of boxty used the following ingredients of grated potatoes, either oatmeal or flour, egg yolk, milk, and butter or animal fat. Many would transform tin cans into graters. Traditionally these “potato cakes” were cooked over the stove in a pan. The more modern approach to this meal does not differ dramatically, you can find the recipe here.

The combination of mashed with raw potatoes gives this dish a nice texture. Sometimes the cakes are served with a rich stout reduction sauce or a simple tab of butter- we used sour cream! 😍

Often times it’s recommended to serve these cakes with sausage and veg. We opted for honey glazed carrots and parsnips with thyme and rosemary along with kielbasa which is not traditional but what we prefer.

Oh the versatility of a potato. This recipe forever changes the game for leftover mashed potatoes! It was a wonderful surprise especially with the addition of sour cream. The carrots and parsnips were a lovely side and completed the meal. Don’t underestimate the ack of meat in this dish because these little cakes will fill you up! We rated them 8.5/10.

Ireland Day 2 – Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

Oh how beautiful a fresh pot of stew is on a cold night (that was the case we had this meal). Irish Guinness Stew is a classic and is comparable to France’s Boeuf Bourgignon (which you can find here).

The origins of Irish stew were thought to contain mutton otherwise known as older sheep. Due to its tougher consistency it was cooked for long durations of time, otherwise known as stewing or the nowadays slow cooking! According to Alan Davidson, a food expert/historian using neck or shank meat on the bone was thought to add more flavor. The very first stews primarily was made up of mutton, beef, or lamb, potatoes, and onions.

Over time other hearty veggies and herbs were added along with the well loved Guinness stout. The stout of course is characteristic of Ireland, the alcohol evaporating over time during the stewing process. The contribution Guinness brings is unmistakable. Another way to really pack in flavor is by browning the meat and scrapping any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot.

The recipe Ian used can be found here. He thought the recipe was straight forward and was enjoyable to see all the elements come together.

Ian served up a very hearty stew full of rich flavors and a variety of vegetables. The flavor was more “complex” and allowed for the perfect opportunity for bread dipping.. if only we had bought bread 🤷‍♀️Either way it got high marks with 9/10!