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Dish Of The Month April 2018 – Bacon, Onion And Potato Hotpot

Bacon, Onion and Potato Hotpot

Bacon, Onion and Potato Hotpot.

By Hugh Coakley

The intention of this new monthly feature is to provide tried and tested recipes to those who might be interested in simple but very tasty food.

The dishes will be able to feed a family of four, often with bulk freezing in mind, and will use only common ingredients which people generally have in their kitchens – with the occasional exception.

If any readers have recipes they would like to pass on to others, please send them in to eventsdragon@gmail.com. We would love to road test them and publish them.

The first recipe couldn’t have more basic ingredients but the flavours I think are fantastic and also homely and comforting.

I first tried this dish as a student many years ago and it has remained a favourite ever since. It is in the Jocasta Innes The Pauper’s Cookbook, which was a big hit among students in the 1970s who were trying to balance the budget between food and beer and other necessities.

With such simple ingredients, it is difficult to go wrong.

4 large onions

4 large potatoes

500g of bacon rashers

white sauce (using ¾ of a litre of milk, 50g of butter and heaped tablespoon of flour)

Dice the onions. Jocasta Innes says slice but it ends up with long lengths of onion which are a little bit messy to eat.

Slice the potatoes fairly thinly and cut up the bacon into 10mm pieces.

Grease up a large casserole dish with butter and then fill it with layers of onions first, then bacon, then potatoes, ending with a layer of potatoes. Season every third layer with salt and pepper – but sparingly as the bacon can be quite salty.

Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Still over the heat, stir in the flour until you get a consistent mixture. Then add the milk and dissolve the butter and flour mixture by stirring it in with a wooden spoon or a fork. It is ready once it has thickened up.

Pour it over the layers in the casserole dish. Give it a bit of a shake to distribute the white sauce evenly.

Cover it with a casserole lid or tin foil and bake for 1 hour at 220 degrees C. Then uncover and cook at a lower temperature of 150 degrees C for about further hour until you get a nice browning of the surface.

You could serve it with peas or cabbage but I think that it’s a perfect dish on its own!

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