22 April 2012

Potato, cheese & leek "Pie"

Absolutely the first thing to be said about this dish, is that is quite categorically is NOT a "pie".  Not in the commonly understood definition of a pie, anyway.

I can quite understand the difficulty over what to call it, however.  It is, after all, just mashed potato, layered with buttered leek, covered with grated cheddar cheese and a decorative sliced tomato.  Everything that describes it better, sounds too "clunky".  Baked cheesy leek potato, sounds like a baked (or jacket) potato.  Baked mashed potato with cheese & leek doesn't sound appealing enough.  Cheese & leek baked mashed potato is the closest I could get - but it's still not great.

What we need, is a name all of its own.  Like "Cullen Skink", or "Kedgeree", or "Spotted Dick".  I know what hubby would want to call it, but we won't go there, okay?  Maybe Solanum Cheesyleeks?  (Solanum being part of Solanum Tuberosum - the species from which all cultivated potatoes originate).

Fresh from the oven and ready to serve

Oh well, whatever you decide to call it - so long as you really like mashed potatoes - it is indulgently delicious and reminiscent of the sort of thing your Mum would make for your evening meal when you were a child.  In fact, my Mum was always very aware of our waistlines and didn't cook anything like this dish - but my Aunty Renee would and it made visiting her house even more of a treat.

I will admit, in my own defence, that when I saw the picture of this dish my saliva glands went into overdrive but I didn't realise that it was simply mashed potato with extra goodies and baked.  I believed, erroneously as it turned out, that it was a mashed potato topped pie.  Even when I got my sweaty paws on the recipe, I still didn't twig.

However, when I sat and read the recipe just before I made the dish, I had a sinking feeling where hubby was concerned.  His dislike for all things potato is well known, but I hoped that the reputation of the Jelly potato would assist in making the whole thing more acceptable for him.  Well, it made it edible - but it didn't make it enjoyable for him.

Son and heir and myself, however, well we were in little mashed potato heaven.  If you add to that the feeling of intense satisfaction that copious quantities of Springfield (our local butcher) bacon brings about - and you've got a picture of what we felt about the entire meal.

That bacon is the very epitome of fab'lous, dahlink.  Yes, it does contain an element of water (although it didn't up until very recently), but the very size and thickness of each rasher is sufficient that it balances against the water content and, when grilled, the water evaporates very quickly.  It's the flavour that sets this bacon apart from all others.  Supermarket bacon just doesn't taste the way Springfield's bacon does.  Full flavoured, deliciously smokey and with just enough salt, it is the perfect bacon for a butty - or to serve with Potato, cheese & leek pie.

Where simplicity is concerned, this is about as simple as you could ask for.  You even get a chance to do the washing up that you've created, as the pie heats through in the oven.  However, it is strictly for mashed potato lovers.  I can verify that the leftovers, cold the next day with a couple of slices of ham, were almost better than the heated original.  That's how much I loved it.


Ingredients :

4 medium to large mashing potatoes (Jelly is a great variety - available from Tesco), peeled and quartered
2 knobs of butter
2 tbsp milk
a medium sized leek, trimmed & washed, halved and sliced
a ridiculously enormous pile of grated mature cheddar cheese (approx 150-200g) divided into two thirds and a third
a vine ripened tomato, sliced
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas4.

2.  Taking a large saucepan, half fill with water and bring to the boil.  Add some salt, then add the potatoes and cook until they drop easily from the point of a knife.  Drain well.

3.  Add one knob of butter and the milk, plus a little seasoning and mash well.

4.  While the potatoes are still hot, add two thirds of the cheese and fork through until it has melted.

5.  While the potatoes were cooking, melt the other knob of butter in a frying pan and gently cook the leek, without browning.  Once the leeks are soft, set aside.

6.  Take a standard 8" pie dish and pat one third of the potatoes into the bottom.  Spread with a half of the leek mixture, then pat a second third of the potatoes on top.

7.  Again, spread with the leek mixture and pat the remaining third of the potatoes over, this time fluffing up the surface so that it catches the melted cheese, to hold it and prevent it overflowing the edges.  Sprinkle the potato with the remainder of the cheese and arrange the tomato slices in a pretty pattern.

8.  Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cheese has melted and browned slightly.

Serve with rashers of bacon and garden peas. 


  1. Mmm yummy, what better to eat on a nice rainy day to warm you though, and with bacon too, got to be a winner.

    1. It's definitely one to warm the cockles of your heart - should they require warming, lol. I'm with you on the bacon thing - anything that provides an excuse to eat more bacon has got to be good!

  2. I would absolutely call this a pie. I am going to make this but I think I will substitute applesauce for the peas and serve it for breakfast. It looks delicious with all the cheese. Thank you for another meal idea!

    1. You are welcome, Mary! I just didn't want folk to think that this was a "pie" in the "pastry" sense of the word, or the "mashed potato topped" sense of the word, as it quite patently isn't! It is a sort of pie, though, isn't it? Hmmn, applesauce, bacon and cheesy leeky potato pie - I like your thinking! :)


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