Thursday, 22 November 2012

Smoked Cheddar Homity Pie

When I lived in the States, if someone said pie it usually meant the sweet, dessert treat.  Here in Britain, pie is often a main course dish... think chicken and leek or pork pie.  The great Cornish Pasty is really a pie folded in half! 



Historically, pies were used as  cooking vessels.  Made of a simple paste of water and flour, the contents of the pie were consumed and the pastry was discarded.  The idea of throwing away pastry upsets me no end.   I love pie crust and will shamelessly gobble up any bit of left over pastry, especially if it has been sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon before baking.


 

During the Second World War, vegetable pies were baked to make the most of meagre food rations.  One of the most popular and enduring of those WWII recipes is Homity Pie.  Traditionally made of potatoes, leeks and cheese, Homity Pie is filling and delicious, real comfort food perfect for an Autumn day.  



So today, I thought I'd bake my first ever Homity Pie.  I decided on using my smallest pie dish since this was my first attempt.  I gathered up the few ingredients required.  But I had one tiny problem... I only had Smoked Cheddar Cheese in the fridge!  So instead of the traditional Homity Pie, we are having a Smoked Cheddar Homity Pie



I know this isn't the official way to make a Homity Pie.  If you want a traditional recipe you can click on this link :  Crank's Homity Pie
But I am going to tell you how I made my Homity Pie.

For a small pie you will need:

Shortcrust pastry
1 onion - finely diced
2 cloves garlic- finely minced
3 medium potatoes - peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs 
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper
Smoked Paprika - optional



Line a small pie dish with shortcrust pastry.  Store bought pie crust will do nicely if you don't like making pastry.  Bake blind (empty) for about 10 minutes at 400F/200C. 

While the pastry is baking prepare the vegetables:

Boil the potatoes until they are tender then drain off all the cooking water.

Saute the diced onion in a little oil until it is translucent.  Keep the heat low so the onion doesn't brown.  Just before the onion is cooked, add the minced garlic.  Cook for just a minute or two making sure the garlic doesn't brown. 

Add the cooked potatoes to the onion and garlic.  Remove them from the heat while you make the cheese sauce.  



Use the potato pan to make the sauce, no need to make more washing up!  

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over a low heat.  Add 1 tablespoon plain flour and whisk together until the flour and butter are combined.  Add 1/2 cup milk and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick.  Add 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese.



Add the potato and onion mixture to the cheese sauce, stirring to coat the vegetables. Have a taste and check the seasoning.  You may need to add more salt and pepper.  Pour the pie filling into the pie crust. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese and dust with smoked paprika if you want to enhance the smokey flavour of the cheese.  Bake for about twenty minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.  



After baking, leave the pie to settle and cool for a few minutes before serving.  Cheese sauce is like molten lava straight from the oven!  Serve with a green salad or seasonal vegetables.  There you have it, Smoked Cheddar Homity Pie fit  for a Land Girl!

11 comments:

  1. It looks delicious! I always wondered what a homilty pie was - thanks for enlightening me :) - oh and Happy Thanksgiving!! X

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    1. My little pie certainly isn't the traditional holiday feast but it was what I needed on this wet, windy day. Happy Thanksgiving to you too! : )

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  2. Autumn comfort food, indeed!! It looks so good. Of course anything with potatoes and cheese has my name on it ;)

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comment. I agree with you. You can't go wrong with potatoes and cheese. A little bechamel sauce never does any harm either! : )

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  3. Love anything with cheese in it !! This looks soooo good. Thanks for sharing it - wish photos would come to life so I could eat it now.

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    1. How very kind you are! You couldn't have said anything nicer! : )

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  4. I am not normally a fan of savoury pies. In my opinion - why have savoury when you can have sweet? However, this looks so good! Onions are my favourite so this looks amazing! Yum :)

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    1. I have a very sweet tooth, too. But if you have to have something savoury to eat, this pie is pretty good. The onions are lovely and sweet and pastry is always good. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the very kind comment! : )

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  5. Now this brings back memories - when I was a student at LSE we'd go into Cranks at Covent Garden and have homity pie - I've never seen it anywhere else!

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    1. You need to come down to Devon. Almost every little bakery and farm shop will have homity pies on offer. : )

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  6. Yum...cheese, potato and pastry...this looks so good...I can only imagine it is delicious and comforting! :-)

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