Humble Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking for Christmas

Cooking for Christmas

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1978

  • About

In our house Christmas Eve is for last-minute preparations and wrapping up of stocking presents. It is also the day before the big meal, so I always feel that supper on Christmas Eve should be something homely and satisfying, not rich and lavish, in view of what is to follow. So I suggest this layered pie, a very popular family dish. It makes a busy evening simpler because it can be prepared beforehand and then just put in the oven and it only needs a green salad as an accompaniment.


  • lb (1.1 kg) swede
  • 1 lb (500 g) leeks
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoon) olive oil
  • 2 lb (1 kg) lean minced pork
  • 2 teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoons) dill seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) thick honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 8-10 oz (250-300 g) Jerusalem artichokes
  • 2 oz (50 g) Gruyere cheese, grated
  • salt, black pepper


Peel the swede, chop it roughly and steam or boil it until soft. Meanwhile, trim and wash the leeks and cut them across in rings. Peel the garlic and chop it finely. Pleat the olive oil over a high heat in a wide saucepan or large, deep frying-pan. Add the minced pork. Break it up while it cooks and continue until the juices have evaporated. Add the chopped garlic, the dill seeds, the tomato purée, the honey and the lemon juice. Stir in thoroughly; then add the chopped leeks and stir over the heat until just softened. Season well with salt and black pepper. Spoon into a round, open ovenproof dish and smooth the top.

Mash the swede, mash in the butter and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Spread the mashed swede evenly over the meat mixture. Lastly wash the Jerusalem artichokes well but leave them unpeeled; slice them thinly and arrange the slices neatly in a single layer on top of the swede. Scatter the grated cheese over the artichokes. When ready to cook the pie, heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C and cook in the centre for about 45 minutes.