Pan Haggerty

Pan haggerty sits somewhere between a French gratin and a Welsh onion cake, being a layered dish of potatoes, cheese and onion, cooked on the hob in a frying pan. It is properly made with beef dripping, but can also be made with butter, lard or goose fat – or, for a distinctly Mediterranean slant, with olive oil, in which case call it something else to avoid recriminations from purists.

Ingredients

  • 550 g/ 1¼ lb potatoes
  • 60 g/ 2 oz fat of choice
  • 285 g/ 10 oz onions, sliced
  • 140 g/ 5 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

Method

Peel the potatoes and slice them as thinly as you can, ideally on a mandolin grater. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes, drain and dry with a cloth. (This is not, strictly speaking, essential but will help prevent exuded starch from causing the potatoes to stick to the pan.)

Put a 23-cm / 9-inch frying pan over a low heat and melt your chosen fat. Remove the pan from the heat and cover the base with a layer of overlapping potato slices. Season with salt and pepper, then put on a layer of onion, then one of cheese, repeating the layers until all the ingredients are used up and finishing with a layer of potatoes. Brush this top layer with melted fat.

Return to a low heat for 20–25 minutes, turning the pan at regular intervals to ensure an even heat distribution.

Transfer the pan to under a grill, also set to a low temperature, for about 10 minutes. Turn the grill to maximum briefly and, as soon as the potatoes are a uniform golden brown, transfer back to the hob over a high heat for a minute.

Slide the haggerty out on a cutting board and slice into wedges like a tart. Serve while still very hot.

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