Boxing day is always a day for leftovers. Even the poisoner has some spare after Christmas dinner. Rather than some charred bubble and squeak I thought this recipe from the Good Granny Cookbook might save the day. Gardener’s Pie was originally a wartime creation to help people stomach a load of veg, instead of the shepherd they’d usually cook under a layer of fluffy mash. Pretty Christmassy eh?
The recipe uses a load of spare raw veg, but I’d imagine it’d work just as well with cooked cold veg – I think you’d just have to cook it until it was hot, rather than until it was cooked; if that makes sense?
To make this for 6 you will need 1kg of mixed winter veg (I used a leek, an onion, a carrot, a parsnip, and half a small cabbage – but the recipe also suggests celery, swede, cauliflower and Jerusalem artichokes), olive oil, stock, salt & pepper, 900g floury potatoes, 50g butter, 400ml milk, and 115g grated cheese.
Set the oven at 200 and start boiling the potatoes, and in a wide shallow pan heat 2tbs of olive oil. Throw the veg in and turn them in the oil until they start to colour. Add enough stock/water to stop the veg sticking. If you’re using leftovers you can use less stock/water as you only need to warm the veg through rather than cook it from scratch.
Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated. The veg should be slightly crunchy (it won’t be if it’s leftover, unless you fried it for slightly longer… Oh I should have said that earlier) season with salt and pepper and pour the veg into your pie dish. It should seem a little dry, that’s ok though cos the moisture should come out of your veg in the oven.
I slightly disagree with the recipe for the potatoes, to my mind there’s far too much milk and it makes it more like a soup. Mash the potatoes with milk (to taste) butter (of course) and cheese (controversial, but since when did Boxing Day become a diet day?) I’d also add a teaspoon of mustard powder or a big slosh of Lea & Perrins. Plop the mash on top of the veg and scribe pretty/offensive patterns with a fork/dagger.
The recipe is rather vague when it comes to the oven bit, but vagues OK if you have a hangover like I usually do on boxing day. Basically, when you’ve finished sculpting the mash over the top of the veg pop it in the oven until the potato goes brown. In my oven this took about 15 minutes.
Serve with some leftover meat and some freshly cooked
stink bombs sprouts and enjoy before dozing off infront of a repeat on telly.
Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)