Friday, 29 June 2012

Pan Haggerty

If I'm being honest, I'd admit that I didn't really know what Pan Haggerty is until I did a quick search for it on the internet. And then I realised that I'd been eating something very similar to it for years. While I was at university I had a boyfriend called Steve who lived in Derbyshire and when I used to visit them his mother would layer up potatoes and onions, scatter the whole lot with grated Cheddar and bake it all in a roasting dish for us to share with some lamb chops or sausages. I've made it myself a few times, changing things as I go along and here's how I make it. Now that I know what it is.

The action of frying the potatoes in a single layer in a pan first is a long one, but one that shouldn't be avoided as all of the buttery juices give so much flavour to the dish - and you can be sure as well that it will all be cooked through (nothing like baking something for 45 minutes and then finding a slice of semi-raw potato halfway down).

Pan Haggerty is thought to come from the North of England, is real comfort food and an excellent example of something being created out of the ingredients available at any one time. People have said that it should really be cooked in a pan but then I think that cooking it in the oven means that the heat is much more evenly distributed. It's cheap to make, too - we eat ours mostly with some good quality baked sausages, all crisp and sticky from a hot spell in the oven.



Pan Haggerty
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 50g butter
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 400g waxy potatoes, skin on - I usually use Charlotte potatoes
  • Handful grated Davidstow Cheddar cheese
Method:
  1. First, preheat your oven to 200°C. With a sharp knife, slice the potatoes into rounds about 5mm thick.
  2. In a large frying pan melt half of the butter and slosh in a tiny glug of olive oil. Fry the onion slices until soft and set aside. Add the remaining butter and fry the potatoes gently, until browned on both sides, in a single layer in the pan. Once they're soft in the middle, layer one third of  them in one layer in the bottom of a heatproof oven dish. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Scatter half of the onion slices on top, and then top with more potato slices. Season again with salt and pepper and layer over the rest of the onions. Finally, top with the remaining fried potato slices and season again. If you have any buttery juices left in the pan, pour these into the dish, too.
  4. Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until all the potatoes are soft and everything is sizzling and brown.
  5. Switch the oven off. Scatter over the cheese and return to the hot (but switched off) oven so that the cheese can melt in the residual heat. Once the cheese has melted, serve straight away.

What are your favourite potato dishes?