Monday, June 23, 2008

Herbed Cabbage and Potato Bake

Last week the Guardian's food blog had a piece about potatoes - as in young people no longer eat them apparently. They all prefer pasta and rice. Fools! Given the massive response I suspect there's something dodgy in the data - hundreds of people posted to tell of their favourite dishes and lovingly described memories of fine potato dishes eaten in places all round the world. Though some people did say they don't buy potatoes because they are too heavy to carry home - takes all sorts.

One of the many posts was from bmurphy with the exhortation to 'try this people'. What followed was an outline of how to cook cabbage and potatoes together then top with a creamy cheese mix and bake till golden. Couldn't resist the challenge.
It is everything I hoped for - utterly luscious and decadent and very easy to make. It strikes me too that it is also very english as a dish - fresh cabbage, new potatoes, thyme, butter, cream. The only change I made was to use cheddar rather than gruyere. I didn't add any pancetta or chorizo - though they would make fabulous additions - so I wanted to add a little more flavour with the topping.

Herbed Cabbage & Potato Bake

Melt 4 tbspns olive oil and 25g of butter in large pan.

Add one large thinly sliced onion and half a cabbage (white or green, or savoy it doesn't matter), very thinly sliced. Cook on a low heat until nice and soft;

Meanwhile thinly slice some nice waxy potatoes (no need to peel, just wash) - about 1 to 1.5 kilos - and then add to onions and cabbage; stir well till all is coated with deliciously oily and buttery stuff, turn to low gas, cover and cook for about 10 minutes;

Add the leaves from a large bunch of thyme, together with 200g or so of diced pancetta (you could use chorizo or something else salty and fatty and made from pigs, or omit if you're a veggie).

Meanwhile mix 284ml/ 1/2 pint double cream (or creme fraiche), and 100g grated cheddar and beat in an egg to make a lovely thick topping. Transfer the potato mixture to an oven dish, top with the creamy, cheesy stuff and bake for about 20 minutes.

Believe me friends, this is the best - eat it with a couple of poached eggs (runny). Even better eat the left-overs cold for breakfast next morning.

bmurphy tells no lies - this was wonderful. I've added in the quantities I used but the outline is just as described in the guardian. All you need is a little salad.

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