In the spirit of getting ready for Frugal February I decided a few days ago to try out a variation of this dish, which I saw on This Website, some time ago. It's basically mashed potato, tarted up with whatever you have to hand, to turn it from an accompaniment into a bit more of a main dish.
I started off by thinly slicing onions and setting them to fry gently in a mix of butter and oil...the idea is that they caramelise gently, rather than catching and burning, but I never quite seem to have the knack, so more often than not some bit are more "caramelised" than others. While that was happening I cut up the potatoes and popped them into a pan to boil. I can't be bothered to peel mine, but of course you get a much neater result if you do...
...the original recipe suggests using bacon, but I didn't have any of that spare, if I had I would have chopped it up and added it to the pan with the nearly-cooked onions. Mmmmm...bacon. (I now want to make this dish ALL OVER AGAIN, but with BACON!) Anyway, where was I...ah yes, with the onions well on their way I grated up a good sized lump of mature cheddar. This was a bargain-priced Yellow Stickered piece from my Morrisons haul a few weeks back, making the whole thing even MORE frugal.
In the absence of bacon (mmmmm....bacon!) I decided to add a bit more substance to the meal by turning an egg and a can of sweetcorn into fritters. Easy this - make a batter (how thick? well, thick "enough" of course! Honestly, I have NO idea - about the thickness of unbeaten double cream maybe?) - there are all sorts of recipes out there for batter - I use my Nan's, which isn't a recipe at all in the traditional sense - beat an egg, add enough flour that it reaches the point that you can barely stir it around any more, and then milk or milk/water mixed to let it down so it's the right consistency. See above for information on what is the "right" consistency. Beat to remove any lumps, then set aside. Drain a can of sweetcorn (I use Value branded stuff) thoroughly and add to the batter. Immediately before you cook the fritters add some salt & pepper. Fry them in a little oil, keep an eye on them as they burn quite easily and you want them to cook slowly enough that the middles cook through too.
Once the potatoes were cooked through I drained them off and then mashed them lightly, not worrying too much about any lumps but adding a nice chunk of butter and a splash of milk. I threw in two-thirds of the grated cheese and all the onions, and combined that lot lightly together, with an added pinch of THIS and then heaped on the plates to serve, topped with the remaining cheese. You can pop the potato under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling, if you like, but frankly the whole thing was smelling tasty enough by this stage that I just wanted to get on with it.
This made SUCH a filling meal, and cheap? I should say so! I definitely want to try this again - and soon - with the bacon, and finished off under the grill. I also fancy trying it by making a recess in the top and cracking an egg in before adding the "top dressing" of cheese and grilling - I reckon that will be a sort of potato-ey version of Jayne's Savory Baked Eggs