Homity pie is a traditional British open vegetable pie. The pastry case traditionally contains a filling of potatoes and an onion and leek mixture, which is then covered with cheese. It has a history that dates back to the efforts of the Land girls of the Second World War and the restrictions imposed by wartime rationing.
Prep Time: 35 mins Cook Time: 15 + 40 mins
Skill level: Easy
300g plain flour or 200g plain & 100g spelt flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
150g butter or 75g butter & 75g Lard, cut into small cubes
75ml ice cold water
600-800g oca, mixed colours if possible, scrubbed and cut into 2cm chunks, if you don’t have these potatoes can be used instead or you can mix with half Oca and half salad potatoes such as Charlotte or when no Oca available all potato!
1-2 tbsps. olive oil or cold pressed rapeseed oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped or 1 Large Leek
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or use a garlic press
Bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked to give about 2 tbsp. or 1 tbsp. dried thyme
Small bunch of fresh parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped, stems retained and finely chopped
250g plus 100g well flavoured cheese such as farmhouse cheddar, coarsely grated or my favourite is cheddar for the topping and Dolchetta (this is a light Italian blue cheese, creamy and very flavoursome!)
A few tbsps. Crème fraiche
Good handful or 150g of smoked lardons
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
First make the pastry. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Add the butter (and fat if using) and rub this into the flour until it appears like breadcrumbs. Add sufficient water so that the dough just comes together. You can do all that in a food processor, just do enough to get the dough to start to come together, don't over process.
Shape the dough into a suitable flat shape for the baking tin/dish you are using. (So shape into a flat round to go into a round tin.) This means you have less work to do once the dough has rested to roll it out. Cover in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. Preheat an oven to 200°C with the shelf in the middle.
Steam or boil the oca for about 10 minutes or so until they are tender with just a little resistance in the centre. Drain if necessary and leave to steam dry while you prepare the other ingredients. Heat the oil over a medium to high heat in a sauté pan. Hard fry the lardons until they are just starting to colour and their fat is starting to render out, then turn down the heat to medium & add the onions sauté these for a couple of minutes till they start to go translucent, now add the garlic and parsley stalks and sauté stirring occasionally until the onion is tender but not coloured. Take off the heat and set to one side.
Take your pastry out of the fridge and roll it to line your greased tin or dish. If you have time, pop back in the fridge to chill for an hour or so, or pop in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help prevent shrinkage. Line the pie case with greaseproof or baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the beans and paper. Turn the oven down to 180°C and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about another 15 minutes.
Put the oca, onion mix, 250g cheese, herbs, salt and pepper to taste into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly but gently without breaking the oca too much. Now add the crème fraiche to make a nice coating. You don't want lots of free liquid or your nicely crisp base (you did blind bake it, didn't you?) will get soggy. Pile the oca mix into the pastry case in a rustic fashion and then grate the remaining 100g cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or so until the top is nicely browned and the oca mix is heated through. If you did not blind bake the case you'll need to cook the pie for about 40 minutes or so. If the top looks like it's getting too browned, cover it with some foil or baking paper. Take out of the oven and allow to cool a bit. I find it tastes better when allowed to cool a little rather than fresh out of the oven. It's also great at room temperature.
I serve with a salad leaves and watercress with a light vinaigrette of olive or cold pressed rapeseed oil and a quality white wine vinegar as a guide you need 3 parts oil 1 part vinegar, to add extra flavour try a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.