I feel as if I’m about to tell you about a dirty little secret. I don’t feel wholly clean, but I’m definitely satiated.
Inspired by one elderly lady’s ready meals (they are particularly good, and usually made by Cook Food although this winner isn’t from that stable), I plumped to replicate a Lancashire cheese and leek potato pie (you know, with mashed spuds on top).
I didn’t know what kind of sauce to use on the bottom. Didn’t fancy a bechamel base and I figured double (heavy) cream was too much. Thought about making a hollandaise and adding Lancashire cheese to that, but it could have been an expensive disaster. I settled on the cream, since I needed to use some up, but can assure you that the whole thing is incredibly rich. If you’re someone who has even once said of a chocolate fudge gateau, “It’s very rich,” as if it shouldn’t be, then look away now. Now.
Set your oven to around 180-190 deg C. It goes in a casserole dish.
Saute 1 medium onion in olive oil (salt them) and when they start to discolour add a couple of splashes of brandy to deglaze the pan (and for flavour). Pour in the double cream and bring up the heat to a simmer.
Dice most of the block of Lancashire cheese (no other will do), and throw it into the cream . Keep stirring. It doesn’t matter if there are a few lumps of cheese here and there. Texture is good.
Add the onions, taste for salt, go for a few shakes of white pepper (or black … some people hate white pepper) and pour into the bottom of the casserole dish.
While you were doing everything else, you were also boiling potatoes. I am lazy, so I cut them in half in their skins and put them through a potato ricer. I couldn’t resist butter, but it was an obscene addition. I mixed fresh thyme into it too, but I’m not sure I could tell.
Spread the mash on top of the sauce and bake for about 15-20 minutes.