The weather is cold, grey and rather miserable. We have a group of friends visiting this weekend. I want to make something now that can be in the fridge and popped in the oven late on Saturday afternoon. This will be perfect for Saturday night – nothing fancy, but good wholesome delicious food.
My brother and I grew up with this bake. It’s creamy, rib sticking, sweet, slightly tacky in places. It’s the sort of food you want to eat after a day on the hills. You come home and you are cold and wet and this will restore and fill you and ensure you sleep well. Or, as we often did growing up, we would go to a 5.30pm cinema performance and then come home to find this ready. It’s the sort of dish that, with foil on the top, only gets better the longer it’s in the oven.
It’s a simple meal. Potatoes, onions, carrots are sliced and cooked for two and half hours in the oven in a cheese sauce with a punch of mustard. In between the top layer of carrots and potatoes is a large quantity of bacon. This is food for the soul, easy to make, and any left-overs are good the next day. It’s just as good without the bacon if you want a vegetarian dish.
I’ve served it with a green salad, or wilted spinach or just peas. I always make sure mustard is on the table too.
- Yield: 8
- 2kg/4lb6½oz potatoes, sliced 4mm/ 1/8” thick
- 3 onions
- 6 carrots
- 670g/1lb7½oz bacon, roughly chopped
- 110g/4oz mature cheddar cheese, cubed
- 110g/4oz butter
- 110g/4oz flour
- 900ml/1½ pints of milk
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp salt
Oven dish roughly – 24cm/6½” x 31cm/12¼”
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/395°F/gas mark 6.
- Peel the onions and slice the potatoes, onions and carrots around 4mm/ 1/8” thick.
- Take your oven dish and using a third of the potatoes cover the bottom of the dish, overlapping each slice a little. Add a layer of half the onions and followed by a layer of half the carrots. Repeat with a third of the potatoes, and the remaining onions and carrots. Place all the bacon on top of the carrot. Then top with the remaining potato.
- Now you need to make a cheese sauce. In a largish saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour well. Cook the mixture for a about half a minute.
- Add a little milk and stir until the milk is combined with the butter and flour mixture. Add a little more milk, again stirring until it combines with the rest of the mixture. Continue to add the milk a little at a time and keep stirring until all the milk is combined and you have a smooth sauce.
- Add the cheese, both mustards, salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce the heat to low and keep on stirring occasionally until you again have a smooth sauce.
- Pour the now lump free sauce slowly over the potatoes. You need to get it all into the dish, so you might need to budge the potatoes a little to let the sauce through to the layers below.
- Once you have added all the cheese sauce, cover the dish in foil and, place in the preheated oven for two hours.
- Then remove the foil to allow the top to brown for about thirty minutes. Then serve with some greens.
- Carbohydrates: 62g