Urghh I love these kinds of recipes! A few simple ingredients that you don’t need to tamper with and no unnecessary salt, butter, cheese or anything else which takes away from the actual stuff inside it!
You can put whatever you like in it and I’m positive you can find combinations that taste just as good without meat – but the natural sweetness of the leeks, peas and fried onions along with the saltiness of the pancetta satisfies all the flavour you and your tastebuds ever wished for.
I really don’t like weekday meals that take a long time, but don’t be put off by these potatoes. It’s seriously simple and what I do is just throw them in the oven whilst I’m doing my work or on a day the oven’s baking something. You can even cook them in advance and mash ’em later if you’re not ready for them yet – that way it doesn’t interfere with your day 🙂
You can mash them up smooth or leave it chunky (which is quite nice as otherwise the flavour’s quite strong) and can definitely leave out the dairy (the cream cheese barely changes the texture anyway – just brings everything together a little). You can replace the cheese on top with breadcrumbs or just throw them in like that and let the tops crispen up! Yum.
I know how much people can’t help but cover the whole potato with cheese and let it go all melted and oozy and crispy on top, but do me a favour and try it with just a couple of gratings! In my opinion, it’ll only detract from the flavour and will undoubtedly over-salt it!
But ultimately, do with it what you will. This one’s for Celine (didn’t mean to sound like I was on stage there) – enjoy! I hope everyone else reading this learns to love the simplicity and deliciousness of the recipe as I have.
(P.S. Am I the only one who puts peas in everything? 😀 )
Makes 4 loaded potatoes
- 1 leek
- 2 onions
- 100 g pancetta/bacon lardons
- 2 handfuls of frozen peas
- 2 tsp cream cheese
- 10 g cheese
- 4 medium-large potatoes
- Ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Bake the potatoes for around 45 minutes depending on their size.
- When the potatoes are almost done (~15 minutes), peel, wash and slice your leeks and onions (chop the leeks chunkier than the onions because they’ll cook down).
- Fry bacon in a little oil (just to stop from sticking to the pan – remember fat will cook out) before adding your leeks.
- Add onions after the leeks have softened a bit.
- Add your frozen peas, minutes before everything’s all at that nice caramelised stage.
- Take out the potatoes, cut “lengthways” and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
- Add cream cheese, all the nice fried stuff and season with pepper, to taste.
- Top with a few gratings of cheesy, just so each bite has a little melty goodness.
- If you’re short of time, cut the potatoes in half first – just be prepared to exclude the skin formed before mashing.
- I’m really not a cheese-y person so just went for a cheddar cheese but feel free to experiment!
- As mentioned above, crispen without a topping or with breadcrumbs and skip the cream cheese for dairy-free.