Inspiration comes from anywhere really, especially in the kitchen- maybe it’s an elusive memory of Nan’s old stew and dumplings, rarities like Matt’s Aunt Marjorie’s chocolate and crushed potato chip clusters that she only makes at Christmas, or sometimes it’s seasonal like when Strawberry Rhubarb pie when the two are growing together for such a short time of the year… Or sometimes, you really just need to use stuff up- I would say we have a significant amount of potatoes kicking around that need to get used up (that seems to happen when you grow them- and don’t even get me started on carrots…).
Potatoes are used in almost anything that you can think of, but are still looked at as only a potato. One of my very favorite food quotes gives a nod to the underappreciated tuber- “I went for the meal, but only remembered the potatoes.” Maybe I am one of a few that actually saves the potatoes for the end instead of the protein (I love you McDonalds hash browns!), but the spud can do anything that you want it to- hold lots of butter and sour cream, add texture (crunchy, fluffy or creamy), they can thicken your soups, absorb all of your gravy at the end of turkey dinner, or they can remind you how good simple food is when you boil new potatoes with a little salt.
Potatoes are going center stage in this particular instance and get all bubbly with some local gouda cheese- gouda can get swapped out for pretty much any hard cheese (cheddar, gruyere, even a hard goat cheddar), the sharper the cheese, the stronger the cheesey-goodness flavour. This pie can be eaten as delicious lunch when served with a green salad or support a nice grilled protein. If you are hosting friends or family, this is pie also is great when made ahead a heated up when needed.
Potato and Gouda Pie
- 260 g pie dough
- 3-4 lbs potatoes, peeled, washed
- 250 g gouda, grated
- 1 good-sized bunch of chives, sliced into thin rings (or green onions)
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 50 g flour
- 300 ml heavy cream
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9″ springform pan or a 10 inch tart mold with a removeable bottom (a deep one!). Roll out pie dough into a 15-16 inch circle, lift into the greased pan. Working your way around the circle, pull the dough away from the side and gently push dough into the corners of the pan then push back against the side of the pan. After you’ve made your way around the entire pan, cut off any excess crust, you can hang on to any scraps for other bottom crust projects. Set your panned crust in the fridge with you work on the filling.
Thinly slice the potatoes either by hand with a knife, a mandolin or a food processor (or a even meat slicer if you have one….)- the thinner the better. Put all of your hard work in a large bowl and add the chives, diced onion, flour and salt and pepper. Mix it all up until it looks fairly even- I always eat a raw slice of potato to check my seasoning, I find it should taste somewhat salty and then it’s pretty close after baking (the salt needs to season onions and the cream, not just the potatoes…).
Retrieve your crust from the fridge, and place it on a sheet pan (trust me, you DO NOT want to clean your oven after this) and spread a couple of good handfuls of potato/onion mix in the bottom of it, sprinkle a bit of cheese, more potatoes, more cheese, repeat. Keep going until you run out of potatoes, but reserve some cheese for the top- don’t put it on just yet though…. The potatoes may need to get pushed down to fit them all in, it’s okay to have them mounded up- they’ll start to compact as they bake. Very slowly pour cream into your crust-pouring it too fast usually just makes a mess- the cream should be about a half inch down from the top of the crust. This needs to get covered with tinfoil- I have always found it really helps to grease the side of the tinfoil that is in contact with the potatoes.
Bake for an hour, then remove the tinfoil and replace it with remaining cheese, place your pie back in the oven and bake for another hour or until you can easily insert a fork or knife. Cool until your are comfortable handling and remove the pan ring or cool completely and reheat as needed.