Leek and Red Onion Cobbler with Potato and Cheese Pastry

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Everyone loves this combination of tastes. Leeks are one of my favourite vegetables, especially when covered in this light, potato pastry.

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 1 kg (2lb) leeks
  • 2 large red onions
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 4–6 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • 4–5 pinches of chilli powder
  • Sea salt

For the Pastry Top

  • 375g (12oz) potatoes
  • 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 75g (3oz) strong flavoured grated cheese
  • 150g (5oz) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Method

To make the filling, trim the leeks and cut into 2.5cm (1-inch) pieces, using as much of the green part as possible. Peel the onions and chop into roughly 2.5cm (1-inch) pieces. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the leeks and onions and caraway seeds. Stir in the vegetable stock. Cook over a medium heat, stirring fairly often, until the leeks and onions have softened. Season to taste with the chilli and salt. Turn into a large, shallow, ovenproof pie dish. Leave to cool.

For the pastry, peel the potatoes. Steam or boil them until they are soft. Mash them in a bowl until they are as smooth as possible. Leave the mashed potatoes until cold. Sift together the flour and salt into another bowl. Stir in the grated cheese. Then add the butter, cut into small pieces, and rub with your finger tips until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Work in the cold mashed potato with your hands and knead the mixture to make a smooth dough. If you are not using the dough immediately, form it into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate.

When the leek mixture is cold, roll the pastry out to about 5 mm (¼-inch) thick on a floured board. Using a 6cm (-inch) biscuit cutter, cut the pastry into circles, re-rolling the scraps. Arrange the circles overlapping on top of the leek mixture. The dish can be refrigerated at this point until you are ready to cook.

To cook, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C/400°F. Brush the pastry circles with egg yolk and then sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese. Cook the cobbler in the centre of the oven for 25–30 minutes until the pastry has turned a rich golden brown.

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