Tuesday, September 2, 2008

#76 Teisen Nionod (Welsh Onion Cake)

If you are on a budget, this dish is certainly for you - it contains, basically, onions, potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. There are variations on the dish that include other ingredients, but essentially that’s it. Don’t be put off by it, it’s very tasty indeed and hearty too if you serve it with bread or roast meat. Greg and Joff were coming round so I thought it was a fine reason to do some recipes. This one is very much like the Pan Aggie/Haggerty that I made ages ago. I’ll give the version I did, but supply you with the additional bits and bobs you can add.

Start off by slicing 2 pounds of peeled potatoes with a food processor or mandolin. Put the slices in a bowl of cold water to rinse the starchiness away and dry them on a clean tea-towel. Next, slice a pound of onions into thin rings, do this by hand though as they cook quicker than potatoes and don’t need to be super-thin. Grease and line a baking dish with foil (if you want to turn out the ‘cake’ at the end), and start layering the potato followed by the onions. Season and add small pats of butter between each layer, repeat as many times as possible, but make sure you finish with a layer of potato; all-in-all aim to use 3 to 4 ounces of butter. Then, melt a final ounce of butter and pour it over. This is the basic dish, but I added a small (150ml) pot of cream and six tablespoons of water to it so that it was a sort of potato Dauphiniose. Cover with another layer of foil and bake for 1 ½ hours at 180°C, removing the foil in the last half hour, so the potatoes crisp up. Turn out onto a large serving dish if you like, and serve with bread.

You could add a quarter of a pint of beef stock instead of cream. Pickles go very well with it if you are not using cream in the dish. You could even place a small joint of lamb on top of the vegetables – though add only a little stock and use only the melted butter. Skim off any excess fat before serving it up.

#76 Teisen Nionod (Welsh Onion Cake) – 8/10. This is definitely one the best dishes so far. It’s easy and cheap and delicious. There are many variation of this dish it seems – Tyneside, Wales and Yorkshire all have their variation on essentially the same recipe – and each time I cook them I’m always surprise how tasty they are. Go and cook it – plus, with the credit crunch and all, you'll be doing your bank balance a favour!

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