It’s bloody cold at the moment in the UK.
In many ways we’re rather fortunate here on the South Coast in that we have no snow and limited issues with ice, so we can still get around and get on with our lives. In others it’s always a bit of a shame for temperatures to be struggling to get above freezing without a snowball or two to throw around.
When the weather gets like this I have to admit that all of my attempts at healthy eating are immediately suspended and I fall back onto my comfort food list. For someone who has always struggled with their weight (in my case a combination of being greedy and not doing enough exercise) it doesn’t make for the best reading… Bread, Cheese, Chocolate, and so on. Carbs and Fat push their way well ahead of Proteins and Vegetables.
Finding a middle ground, in which the fat and carb levels are kept in check without making me want to run for the biscuit barrel is not easy, so apologies if you were looking for a healthy option when you clicked on this recipe. The one upside being that this is technically a recipe for 6-8 people, so you could just invite more people around and spread the love. Failing that you could lock the doors, turn down the lights and curl up on the sofa with a generous bowl to yourself and wait for Spring.
I know which one I’m going for…
Ham and Leek Potato-topped Pie
for the Filling
- 750 g Smoked Ham Joint, cooked as per pack instructions
- 500 g Leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced.
- 200 g Baby Chestnut Mushrooms, halved
- 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- 1 tsp English Mustard Powder
- 500 ml Good Quality Chicken Stock
- 3 tbsp Crème Fraîche
for the Topping
- 1 kg Floury Potatoes for Mashing
- 50 ml Milk
- 25 g Butter
- 50 g Parmesan Cheese, grated
Put the butter and leeks into a deep frying pan (or saute pan) and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir frequently to stop them catching on the base of the pan.
Add in the mushrooms and garlic, then cook for a further 5-10 minutes until they're also softened.
Mix the flour and mustard powder together, then sprinkle over the leek mixture and stir well. Cook out for a minute, then add in the stock and stir again. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Cut or pull the cooked ham into bite-sized chunks. Add this to the pan and heat through, before removing the pan from the heat and stirring through the crème fraîche. Put to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Mash well, with the milk and butter, before stirring through the parmesan cheese.
Put the filling into the pie dish(es) of your choice and top with a generous layer of mashed potato. Fork it slightly to ensure you get some crispy edges.
Put into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.