So you open the fridge and you find some cooked basmati, a couple of boiled baby potatoes, which I chopped, and some left-over chicken. Mix them together with some salt and pepper and you are all set. I found those things one evening when J had a work dinner and I was eating alone. As much as I hate eating alone, it has it’s benefits sometimes…mm…for example eating while watching a movie. All I did was throw them together in a bowl, with some frozen peas (cooked in some boiling water) and seasoning. This is grown up nursery food, which I absolutely love when I seek comfort. It’s like a big hug – well not quite, but you know what I mean.
I tried this quite a while ago while cooking with my mum in her kitchen a few weeks after Christmas. We turned simple potatoes into something nice, served with a juicy steak. I love cooking with my mama, and I’m happy to cook something for her once in a while. It’s the least I can do after so many wonderful meals she cooked for me. We made quite a few, had plenty of leftovers and gave some to my aunt who liked them so much that she ate one cold from the fridge. These keep well when cooled and is great for eating outdoors.
The quantities for this recipe are approximate; tastes differ from one person to another and not everyone likes loads of herbs or cheese or even mushrooms. So add or subtract whatever you want and experiment with different ingredients. Then you’ll end up with your personalised recipe. It’s very easy and you can figure out what I did from the photo. But here’s a guide. For the best result it’s better to get the largest potatoes you can get from the market. You need:
- around 6 to 8 potatoes, boiled al dente (meaning ‘with a bite’, not ‘to the teeth’! Yes I’ve heard that!) and cut in half.
For the filling:
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 6 mushrooms, sliced
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped (you can use pancetta for a stronger flavour)
- any herb that you fancy: I used some freshly chopped parsley
- pepper, to taste
- around 2 tablespoons of butter
- around 2 tablespoons of milk
For the topping:
- 12 slices or so of emmental cheese
In a pan prepare the topping by gently frying the onions, bacon and mushrooms in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Don’t cook them too much; the oven will do the rest of the cooking later. Set this mixture aside in a mixing bowl.
Once cooled, slice the cooked potatoes in half and scrape the middle into the same bowl, and add the parsley (or any herb you prefer). Add some pepper but no salt. You get plenty of this from the bacon. Add the butter and milk and mix. This is like making a fancy mash.
Once the mixture is ready and you are happy with the seasoning, scoop this into each half and top with the sliced cheese. Bake in the oven at 180ºC till everything turns golden. You can grill them if you prefer. Serve with steak or chicken and salad.