This scrumptious, gratin style potato cake is a real crowd pleaser and a lot easier to make than it looks. Perfect if you are planning a post Lockdown family or friends reunion or just fancy making something a little bit special at the weekend.
The secret to this pie is slicing the potatoes evenly and thinly enough to enable you to create a multilayered creation, so a mandoline or electric slicer are the best tools to use. By making the slices the same thickness, it also means that all the potatoes will finish cooking at the same time.
When assembling the layers you only need to ensure that the bottom layer of potatoes is laid out neatly, as these are the ones that appear at the top of the “cake,” once it is turned out of the dish. The rest of the mixture is simply ladled in one layer at a time but without the need to arrange the potatoes too perfectly, because as long as you go pressing down each layer, it will arrange itself into a neat looking stack when it cooks. It is therefore less labour intensive than it looks (although you don’t have to let on!)
You can also vary the flavours. The recipe below uses leftover cooked chicken and pancetta which was a delicious combination but I have also made it in the past with ham hock and added peas which was equally good.
It really is up to you which combination of flavours you decide to go for as the method is the same. If you have slightly less cooked meat that is also fine as the cheese and egg add lots of flavour. (I have included photos showing both the chicken and the hock and pea versions below.)
If you prefer a vegetarian version so wish to leave out the meat, simply increase the quantity of cheese to around 200g.
Baking dish or a baking tin with a sealed bottom.(200cm in diameter)
- 250 g cooked chicken
- 160 g smoked pancetta
- 3 eggs
- 200ml milk
- 600g (about 3-4) large potatoes
- 150g grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of peas (optional)
- Vegetable oil (for greasing)
- Salt and pepper (note the parmesan and pancetta are already quite salty, so salt sparingly or not at all )
- Line base of baking dish with greaseproof paper and grease sides generously with the oil.
- Peel and slice the potatoes finely, keeping the best shaped ones to line the bottom of the dish. Set the rest aside into a large bowl.
- Mix the eggs and milk and season sparingly.
- Arrange the best looking potato slices in a circle on the base of your dish or tin.
- Mix the chicken, pancetta and cheese with the rest of the potatoes. Then stir in the eggy mixture and mix it all well.
- Ladle the mixture into the dish creating one layer at a time and pressing each layer down evenly as you go along. (You do not have to worry about laying out the slices too uniformly).
- Cook in a preheated oven for about an hour or until the potatoes are cooked and the top of the cake has browned. Set oven at 220C/200F/Gas Mark 7 for the first 45 minutes and then turn down to 180C/160F/ Gas mark 4 for the remaining cooking time (around 15 mins).
- Ensure that the potatoes are well cooked by running a metal skewer through the centre or using a cooking thermometer.