Seasonal recipe No 17 – Stilton, onion and potato pie

Nigel Slater calls it ‘a cheesy pie to warm the soul’. It’s from his Kitchen Diaries book. And it doesn’t have to be Stilton – Cornish blue, Sue’s Trelawney – any fairly strong cheese will work just as well.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

1.5kg floury potatoes
4 medium onions
80g butter
150ml milk
225g Stilton or other cheese
25g grated Parmesan

Peel the potatoes, cut into halves or quarters and cook in boiling salted water until tender – about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes cook, peel the onions and cut them in half, then cut each into five or six segments. Put them in a heavy-based frying pan with 40g of the butter and let them cook over a moderate to low heat, stirring from time to time. They will need 20-25 minutes to become thoroughly soft and sticky.

Bring the milk to the boil and turn off the heat. Drain the potatoes, then tip them into the bowl of a food mixer, or mash them in the pan with a hand-held beater. Slowly add the milk and the remaining butter. Beat to a smooth mash.

Set the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Butter the base and sides of a 28cm baking dish. Spoon in half the potato, smooth it a little, then add the onions and a grinding of black pepper. Crumble the cheese over the onions. Pile the rest of the mash over the top and smooth lightly with the back of a spoon.

Dust over the grated Parmesan, then bake for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will be pale gold and the filling will be bubbling up around the edges.

Enough for 6 as a main dish with greens or a salad.

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