1 tablespoon sunflower oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. about 550 g (1 lb 2 oz), each cut into 3 pieces
1 onion, sliced
4 smoked streaky bacon rashers, diced
2 tablespoons plain flour
600 ml (1 pint) chicken stock or a mix of stock and dry cider
2-3 sage sprigs
125 g (4 oz) black pudding, skinned and diced (optional)
200 g (7 oz) carrots, diced
200 g (7 oz) swede, diced
625 g (14 lb) potatoes, thinly sliced
25 g (1 oz) butter
salt and pepper


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the chicken a few pieces at a time until all the meat is in the pan, then add the onion and bacon and fry, stirring, until the chicken is golden.
2.Stir in the flour, then gradually mix in the stock or stock and cider. Add the sage sprigs and a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring.
3.Add the black pudding, if using, carrots and swede to the slow cooker pot.
4.Pour over the hot chicken mixture, then arrange the potatoes overlapping on the top and press below the surface of the liquid. Sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper, then cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through
5.Lift the pot out of the housing using oven gloves, dot the potatoes with butter and brown under a preheated hot grill. Spoon the hotpot into shallow dishes to serve.
6.FOR MUSTARDY BEEF HOTPOT, replace the chicken with 750 g (12 lb) trimmed and diced stewing beef.
7. Fry the beef in the oil and transfer to the slow cooker pot, then fry the onion, omitting the bacon.
8.Stir in the flour, then mix in 600 ml (1 pint) beef stock, 2 teaspoons English mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato purée and salt pepper and bring to the boil. Omit the black pudding and continue as above.

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