Cheese, Onion, Leek and Potato Pie (Homity Pie)
I love trying new foods. I’ll try all types of food but “new to me” English meals get me excited. For some reason, I saw several recipes for Cheese, Onion, Leek and Potato Pie in my YouTube feed. The videos made the pie look so yummy so I decided I wanted to try it out.
I researched different recipes and discovered that this meal is commonly known as Homity Pie. It’s a traditional open vegetable pie -- the main vegetables being potatoes, leeks, onions and cheese. The whole thing is covered with a puff pastry.
Homity Pie is said to have been known as a wartime pie because during World War II food was rationed and this was an easy way to dress up leftover vegetables. Because your could grow your own vegetables, this vegetarian meal would have been less expensive and less difficult to make, assuming you have saved your butter rations for the crust.
I didn’t attach the recipe that I used because (spoiler alert), there were a few things I’d have changed. Instead I’ll tell you what I was told to do and what I’d do next time. And, if you have made this pie before, please let me know in the comments what you do.
I started with good ingredients from my local farmer’s market.
A nice sized leek
4 medium potatoes
I pre-heated my oven to 375°. I pulled out my dutch oven and sauteed my onions and leeks in some olive oil. Once they were caramelized - the recipe said 30 minutes but I cook a little high so it only took about 20 minutes, I added chopped thyme and garlic powder to the mix. You’re supposed to use fresh, minced garlic but I didn’t have any.
In a second bowl you are to combine a container of sour cream or creme fraiche and a mixture of mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. I personally used all cheddar cheese and I used a strong, English cheese. Wrong! I should have used a milder cheese for this recipe and, I should have used a little of mozzarella to cut the flavor.
Instead of chopping my potatoes, I sliced them. A mandolin would have been good but I sliced by hand. Just keep your slices thin.
I coated a baking dish with olive oil and added a layer of potatoes. I added some salt (just a little - remember, cheese is salty) and black pepper, then half of the onion and leek mixture, then the cheese mixture. Then I repeated the steps making the cheese mixture the final layer.
You’re supposed to use puff pastry but I just used a pie crust. Instead of brushing an egg and milk mixture to the top (for browning), I just used almond milk.
The whole thing was pretty good. I enjoyed the crust mixture and the onion, leek and potatoes were de-lish! I thought that 1 larger sized leek was enough. I could have added another one.
I also skimped on the seasonings. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon of thyme and 4 cloves of garlic. I should have used 1 tablespoon of thyme, added half of a tablespoon of rosemary and fresh garlic.
The cheese and sour cream mixture wasn’t really enough. I should have used ¼ cup more sour cream or added ⅛ cup (almond) milk. It would have thinned the mixed but I would have added an extra leek, so that would have been ok.
There are several restaurants in London that serve this delightful dish, Cranks Vegetarian Restaurant being the most popular. I think I’d love to try a “professionally made” pie and then make another to see how it stacks up against my first.
Stay tuned for that!