By Mark Hix

One of the best-known dishes in the north which I’ve converted using deer which works a treat. Try to use the meat from a single muscle if possible as a generic mix of cuts will take different cooking times and you will end up with tender and chewy bits. If you wish which is even more traditional use neck chops. It’s traditional to serve Lancashire hotpot with pickled red cabbage which is a great combination with the game.

Serves 4.


  • 800-900g deer neck fillet or shoulder, cut into rough 3-4cm chunks
  • 4 deer kidneys, halved (optional)
  • Flour for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 50g unsalted butter plus a little extra for brushing
  • 3 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • The leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 litre game, lamb or beef stock
  • 5kg large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.  
  2. Season the pieces of deer and kidneys separately with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry the deer a few pieces at a time on a high heat until nicely coloured. Then drain in a colander. Fry and drain the kidneys afterwards, and set aside separately. Clean the pan and heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry the onions on a high heat until they begin to colour, add the butter and continue to cook for a few minutes until they soften. Dust the onions with a tablespoon of flour, stir well and gradually add the stock, stirring to avoid lumps, and sprinkle in the thyme. Bring to the boil, add the deer, season with salt and pepper and simmer for about an hour until it’s fairly tender.
  3. Now you're ready to assemble the pot. Take an oven-proof casserole dish with a lid or similar, cover the bottom with a layer of potatoes first, followed by the meat with a little sauce, then the potatoes again. Continue until the meat and sauce has all been used. Add the kidneys and finish the top with a layer of nicely overlapping potato slices. Brush the top with a little of the sauce and cook in the oven for about an hour or until the potatoes on top are crisp.