Seasonal local food recipe No.353 – Onion, bacon and potato hotpot

This straightforward dish from the late Jocasta Innes’ classic The Pauper’s Cookbook is recommended by one of Camel CSA‘s members. The recipe became a favourite when she was a student. Serve with the sprouting broccoli or kale in this week’s veg boxes.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours

50g butter
50g plain flour
600ml milk
sea salt and ground black pepper
grated nutmeg (optional)
4 large onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
4 large potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
125-150g bacon, rind removed, cut into strips

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6). Make a white sauce by melting the butter on a low heat in a small pan, stir in the flour and gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil stirring all the while, once smooth and thick, reduce the heat to a very low simmer, add the seasoning and nutmeg and leave it ticking over while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Grease a casserole dish and build up in layers of onion, potatoes and bacon bits, ending with potatoes. Pour the white sauce over the top and jiggle well to distribute the sauce evenly. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 200°C/Gas 6), uncover and reduce to 180°C/Gas 4) and cook for 1 final hour. Serve with winter vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, kale or cabbage.

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