Monday, January 16, 2012

Guest Mary Curry with British Cheese and Onion Potato Pie

British Cheese and Onion Potato Pie

Guest Blogger Mary Curry

I know it’s January and we’re supposed to be being good and eating low-carb and all, but potatoes are good for you. Really. They’re a good source of potassium, so think of this recipe as good for your blood pressure. Besides, it’s the perfect warm up your insides food for a cold January day.

Whew! Now that I’ve gotten the rationalizing out of the way, let me tell you about this recipe.

My youngest daughter is a vegetarian which is fine most of the year but it makes holiday meals difficult for her. This year I was trying to find a recipe to entice her while everyone else was savoring the Christmas ham.

I stumbled across a recipe on BBC for a Cheese and Onion Pie. Since my daughter spent a wonderful month in London this summer and was still longing to go back, I figured this would be a hit.

This is the basic BBC recipe:

For the pastry
·       450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
·       2 tsp baking powder
·       ½ tsp salt
·       120g/4½oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
·       1 free-range egg yolk
·       50g/2oz parmesan cheese, grated
·       120ml/4fl oz water
·       1 free-range egg, beaten, for glazing
For the filling
·       1 medium potato, peeled and cut into cubes
·       2 onions, finely sliced
·       1 tbsp plain flour
·       50ml/2oz whole milk
·       50ml/2oz double cream
·       150g/5½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
·       ½ tsp English mustard
·       ½ tsp cayenne pepper
·       salt and freshly ground black pepper

I’m going to be honest with you – I didn’t follow the recipe much at all.

First, I didn’t make the pastry crust. I used the Oronoco Farms frozen crust I had in the freezer. My daughter loves that crust so why mess with it?

Second, I basically used the ingredient list and then adapted it to what I had on hand. I used about 8 large potatoes, peeled them and set them to boil.


While the potatoes boiled, I diced 1 sweet onion and 1 red onion and sautéed them in Irish butter until they were translucent.

Then I mixed the potatoes, the onion mix, some milk and lots of cheese and layered it into the pre-baked pie crust, topped it with an extra layer of cheese, and set it to bake about half an hour at about 350 degrees.

The result was delicious. Both my daughter and I ate way too much of it and then we enjoyed leftovers for a few days. It was that good!

So this is what the BBC pie looks like.

I didn’t put the top crust on mine because I liked the bubbling cheese on top. I’m sure either way is delicious. (And the BBC one looks a whole lot prettier.)
I did a variation another night with artichoke hearts but that wasn’t as delicious as I’d imagined it would be. The artichokes just got mushy. I’d like to try it with salmon baked in but I’ll have to do that separate from my daughter’s portion.

Have you ever made something like this? Do you have any suggestions of things to add in for variety?

And here’s a link to the original recipe.


  1. Thanks for having me today, Missy. And thank you for posting my recipe.

  2. Oh, I might try this tonight. I made pie crust over the weekend (had to get in at least one more apple pie before the apples get 'springy') and I've got three crusts remaining.

    Mary, this looks DELICIOUS! Like I just stepped into a James Herriot novel and sat down with Jim, Helen, Siegfried and Tristan! I can't wait to try it, and since I'm having trouble keeping to my low-carb good intentions....(note apple pie reference, LOL!) I'll call this 'research'. Right? :)

  3. Mary, did you chunk up the potatoes before putting them in the pie crust?

  4. Oops. Forgot that step. Yes, I did. I just broke them into rough chunks. I guess it might be better to do that before you boil them, but I didn't.

    Also, it's better not to over oil them. I sort of did that the second time I made this and it was rather mushy.

  5. Darn autocorrect . That was supposed to say don't over Boil.

  6. Ooooohhh!!! Onion, potatoes and cheese. All together.

    Need I say more??

    This sounds like something I would adore. I can't wait to try it! Mary, thanks for sharing it with us today!

  7. Yaaayyy -- a vegetarian recipe that I can try! It sounds scrumptious and the Irish in me says you can't go wrong with a potato recipe! It's definitely a winter comfort food for me.

    At Christmas this year I had a vegetarian shepherd's pie -- the top was all potato and the bottom was a lentil mix with onion and spices. Very yummy. I might try the lentil bottom with your potato topping instead of the pie crust just to zing some protein into the mix.

  8. Oh, Kav, that lentil mix sounds perfect. Do you have the recipe for that? I'd love to try it.

  9. Kav, that does sound good! You should contact us at yankeebellecafe {at} to set up a date to share your shepherd's pie recipe!

  10. Mary, this sounds yummy! Onions, potatoes and cheese together...and with pie crust!

    Did I read that right, though - the BBC version used 1 medium potato and you used 8 large potatoes? And you didn't use the cream?

    The only vegetarian addition I can think of to try would be mushrooms - sauteed along with the onions and mixed in...

    A good non-vegetarian addition would be something like ham or bacon, or maybe sausage - something with a strong flavor to complement the cheese and onions.

    I may have to make this for lunch...

  11. Hi Jan,
    You did read it right. I can't imagine how the BBC recipe only used 1 potato. I figured maybe it was a typo. I think that would have to be mostly an onion pie. I honestly don't remember exactly how many potatoes I used, but I counted 8 in the picture. Since nothing about this recipe is exact, I went with 8.
    Can you tell I'm a rather helter skelter throw it all in kind of cook?

  12. Actually, it makes sense that the BBC pie would only use one potato - from the picture, the filling looks almost like a cheese custard. Lots of cheese and onions, itty bitty potatoes.

    Maybe I'll try both versions and see which one I like best.

    And Mary, my dear husband - the food service professional - is always getting on me about not following the recipes. In his kitchen he's always telling the cooks to "follow the recipe exactly". Of course, he's more concerned with consistency and costs than I am. And I agree with him - if I was feeding between 500-1000 people every day, I'd be concerned with costs too!

    But in MY kitchen - experimentation is the rule:)

  13. I just made a salad dressing at lunch, a "recipe" I created yesterday and loved. Today it didn't work right! Awful. So following a written recipe can have an advantage! LOL

  14. Oh, Missy, I do that all the time. Grrrr..... Mary, I like a more potato-ey version. The Irish in me, you know. So I'm going to try it with the chunky potatoes and onions and cheese... and maybe do it with some awesome ham or bacon and go a little more "Shepherd's Pie" with it.

    I just ate my salad...

    But I'm DYING for the potato pie, LOL!

  15. LOL Ruthy. I was virtuous and ate Plain Greek yogurt with bananas, walnuts and craisins. Now I'm craving some of Tina's cookies.

    Missy, don't you HATE when that happens? I made some weird chili recipe yesterday. At least it was supposed to be chili but it didn't come out anything like I expected. Maybe because I tried to combine what I thought was the best of both recipes. Um, no! It didn't taste bad - just wasn't real chili.

    Jan, I imagine in your husband's situation, I'd follow closely too. But then there's probably a reason why I'm only entrusted with teaching 23 children, not cooking for 1000. ;)

  16. I think I made candy instead of salad dressing! Maybe I should be proud.


  17. I'm making this tonight to thank Paul and Jon for spending three hours PLUS in the mud last Wednesday to retrieve Dave's truck.

    I owe them dinner. This will be part of it! Can't wait to try it, Mary!