Friday, January 26, 2007



WELSH HOMITY PIE

I'm not really obsessed with leeks and potatoes, it's just that they're all we're getting in the box right now. Well, those plus cabbage and broccoli. And carrots. I like carrots, but they're not very inspiring when it comes to recipes. Although the New Covent Garden Soup Company has a great recipe for carrot and cardamom soup. And I don't mind a carrot risotto with garden thyme, either.

I'm hungry, in case you didn't notice. I am about to go and whip up a pumpkin lasagne using yesterday's goat's cheese and some leftover spinach pesto (from Sainsbury's). Well, it won't be whipping-up so much as hacking-up, I suppose, which is why I'm not desperately keen to start. I do love pumpinks (interesting spelling) but they're not for ladies to chop up, are they? Sigh.

You're probably hungry too. Here's the pie. Ordinary Homity Pie is made with onion, potato and cheese; my Welsh version uses the symbol of God's land - the Leek. Just like everything else, the Homity pie is better in Welsh.

PASTRY

4oz wholemeal flour
4oz plain white flour
Pinch salt
2oz Trex
2oz butter
Iced water

Weigh out the butter and Trex, dice them, and put in the freezer for twenty minutes or so. Weight out the flour, and rub in the cold fats. Then add a pinch of salt and enough iced water to bind the pastry. Wrap in cling-film and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

WELSH HOMITY PIE

2 small leeks, sliced
4 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
1dstsp butter
1tbsp plain flour
0.4 pint milk
0.5tsp mustard powder
2 large handfuls (about 2oz) grated mature cheddar
Plenty of ground pepper

Preheat the oven to about 180 deg C.

First slice up the leeks and put into a little hot water, then bring to the boil briefly. While this is happening, slice the potatoes as finely as you can. Drain the leeks and then put the sliced potatoes on to simmer for about 10 minutes, just until tender to the point of a knife (watch to make sure they don't fall apart).

Set aside the vegetables to cool a little. Make the cheese sauce: melt the butter, take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour and mustard powder with a wooden spoon, to a yellow paste. Add a little milk and return to a gentle heat, then continue to add the milk, a splash at a time. You're aiming for a very thick white sauce, so stop when it reaches a thick, sloppy stage. Add the cheddar and allow it to melt. Set the sauce aside to cool a bit.

Now roll out the pastry to fit an 8-10" tart tin, leaving plenty of overhang. Prick the base with a fork. Pop this into the preheated oven for 10 minutes to dry out a little.

Press the leeks with kitchen paper to get rid of excess moisture and then spoon them into the pastry case to cover the bottom. Add a spoonful of cheese sauce. Now arrange the potato slices prettily on top in two layers, adding ground pepper and cheese sauce in between. Finish with the remaining cheese sauce, or as much as you can pour into the gaps.

Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown, and serve with steamed broccoli.