13 October 2014

Homity Pie - well, the low calorie version!

There has been a lot of interest shown on the Rhubarb & Ginger Facebook page, in the Homity Pie that I found on the Slimming World website and which I have now cooked twice.  So, I thought I'd open it up to a wider audience and blog the recipe.

Now, first thing I will say about this recipe is that the true Homity Pie is contained in a pastry case and is a vaguely Quiche-like "pie".  However, because this is the low calorie version, we've jettisoned the pastry case.  Don't let that stop you from putting the pie filling into a pastry case if you're not watching your weight, or want to present it to an audience other than the family.  I would recommend a shortcrust or filo pastry crust, as it could all get a bit heavy with puff or flaky.

So, what actually is "Homity Pie"?  Well, it has an interesting history - going back to wartime rationing, land girls and making use of what you've got available.  It is basically, mashed potato with added flavourings such as onion, leek, cheese, garlic, peas - whatever you've got by way of veggies, with eggs to provide a little rise and lightness.  So simple, but it works so well!

Both times I cooked it, I used it as an accompaniment to a roast chicken.  Well, sometimes you fancy something other than roast potatoes.  Not often, I grant you, but when you do - Homity Pie does the trick.  I could imagine it would go very well with whatever you want to add it to - sausages, chops, steak, braised beef, gammon - I can't think of anything that it would be out of place beside.  Well, discounting things like curry and apple crumble, of course!

The leftovers have been useful to accompany things like bacon, a fried egg, cold meats and pickles for lunch, too.  A quick turn or two in a dry frying pan to heat it up and draw off some of the moisture that inevitably accumulates and it is good to go.

Once again, another wartime recipe proves its worth in these times of austerity.  As with the rice pudding I recently posted, I do love a flexible recipe!  The ingredients of a Homity Pie are about as flexible as can be, the only essentials being the mashed potato, cheese and eggs.  After that, you can add whatever the heck you like by way of vegetables - however, I would recommend that any hard veggies like carrots are pretty much cooked before they go in.  Having your teeth bounce off a piece of uncooked carrot could easily ruin what was otherwise a great dish.

Cooks notes :  the original recipe (see Slimming World link above) is a really low calorie version, if you're interested in taking the recipe that far.  I have added mushrooms to my version of the recipe, which doesn't add much to the calories, but does add heaps to the flavour.  I have also used a full fat mature cheddar, as half fat cheese just isn't worth calling cheese, in my opinion.  I've also used olive oil instead of the recommended low fat cooking spray, as I'd rather know what I'm using - and anyway, olive oil is good for you!

So, the next time you're pondering on what carbohydrate to put with a meat, whip up a Homity Pie.  Your family will thank you for it.

HOMITY PIE  (Low calorie version)   (serves 4-5)

Ingredients :

400g potatoes, peeled and cubed
100ml milk
knob butter plus 10g butter
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
225g onions, chopped
225g leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large chestnut mushrooms, halved and sliced
198g frozen peas
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
half a tsp dried oregano
2 eggs, lightly beaten
85ml of vegetable stock
160g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Method :

1.  Preheat your oven to 220degC/425degF/Gas 7.

2.  Boil some salted water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes.  Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain, return to the pan and mash with 100ml of milk, a good sized knob of butter and some seasoning, but a good deal of pepper. Set aside to cool until needed.

3.  Add the olive oil to a frying pan and cook the onions on a medium high heat with a pinch of salt to draw out the moisture, until softened and transparent.  Add the garlic, leeks and mushrooms and reduce the heat slightly once they have started to soften.  Add the peas to defrost and finally add the stock to deglaze the pan.  Set this aside to cool slightly.

4.  Grate the cheese then add half to the mashed potatoes, along with the parsley, oregano and eggs.  Give a quick stir to combine, then add the vegetables and stock.  Stir through quickly, so as not to allow the egg to set. Spoon the mixture into your ovenproof dish and scatter over the remaining cheese.

5. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until risen slightly and golden in colour.

Calories per serving : 275 (reference : Calorie Counter)

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