Pan Haggerty is a wonderfully frugal yet tasty dish from the North of England, specifically the mining towns of Northumberland. It comes from a time of poverty when families knew how to feed themselves for little cost. Consequently it’s a wonderfully simple dish to prepare, although somewhat calorie laden – a cheap filler!
Traditionally it was cooked on the range in a large frying pan, cooked on one side and then inverted and cooked on the other. These days I layer everything up in an oven-proof dish and cook it in the oven simply out of convenience. Also, I add a layer of ham to the dish, which isn’t traditional!
When my aunt was a newly-wed, her mother’s advice for her was to always keep bacon, eggs, cheese and potatoes in the house – then you always have the wherewithal to put a meal on the table. As a woman who reared 16 surviving children on a miner’s wage, I take her advice as golden! I have to say, they are things that I always keep to hand in my own kitchen. I never, ever run out of cheese or eggs!!
To make this lovely dish, for two people you need:
2 medium/large potatoes (depending on appetite), peeled and sliced fairly thinly
1 onion, peeled and sliced
6-8 oz grated cheese, I used a mix of Cheddar and Caerphilly cheese
Salt and pepper
Optional, 2 or 3 thick slices of ham
Well butter your oven dish and add a layer of potatoes, season well with salt and pepper and add a layer of onion and then cheese, another layer of potatoes, seasoning, onion and cheese. Keep layering up like this, finishing with a layer of potatoes, dot with butter and add a final generous sprinkling of cheese.
If you are adding the ham just tear the slices roughly and add with the onion and cheese layers.
Pop into a hot oven, 200oC for approximately 45 minutes. The actual cooking time will vary and depends on how thickly you have sliced the potatoes. It could take an hour if they are thick.
If you have a hubby like mine who won’t eat cheese you can do what I do and make the pan haggerty in one-serve dishes and make a separate one without the cheese for hubby – in that case I’d add a little vegetable or chicken stock, or even milk.
This is a VERY calorie laden dish so if you wish do cut down on the amount of cheese you use. I was very generous with the cheese!