Back in my cheesemonger days I used deal with expat Englishman Joe Whalley who with his partner Jill runs Mount Eliza Cheese. Since then they have led the campaign to allow NZ cheesemakers to make unpasteurized cheese. Back when I sold their cheese selling English style cheese beyond cheddar was a hard road. I hope that has changed because cheeses like Red Leicester, Cheshire, or Double Gloucester are delicious.
The great pestilence has changed alot about how we get our food. I have been buying much more of my food online and this led to me placing an order and receiving a wedge of their Cheddar and Red Leicester .
I also recently listened to an episode of BBC4’s Food Programme where Sheila Dillon explored the pies of her native Lancashire. So inspired I set about cooking a pie with the Mt Eliza Red Leicester which was luminous red and screaming Autumn at me. It also was nice to have a meat (bar the stock) free day.
200g cheese crumbled or grated(I used 50/50 Red Lester and Cheddar)
500g Red Onion sliced
500g Brown Onion / Leek sliced
2 medium potatoes sliced wafer thin
500ml beef stock / French Onion Soup (I used soup powder and oxo)
Pinch of dried thyme
2 teapoons crushed garlic
Knob of butter cut up
Heat oil in a heavy based frying pan and add red onions, and a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of garlic. Fry till translucent.
Start adding stock/soup a teaspoon or 2 at a time reducing it down to a thick gravy. Keep doing this till 1/2 the stock is used.
Set aside and repeat process with the brown onions / leek mixture.
Allow both mixtures to cool.
Line a deep pie dish with pastry
Layer up the pie alternating red onion mixture, cheese , potatoes, white onion mixture.
Make sure to season each layer with salt , pepper and thyme.
End the layers on a potato layer and scatter the bits of butter over the top
Place pastry lid on top and crimp tightly, don’t puncture the lid as you want the cooking steam to cook the potato.
If you can refrigerate over night, I find this gives your pastry more structural integrity.
Egg wash the pastry then bake in a hot oven for 30min then reduce to 150c for an hour.
Let the pie cool a little before slicing.