Pan Haggerty

It’s Sunday morning and L has gone out with some of her friends. I’m left on my own for a chunk of the day. Last night we went out to a Roller Derby bout, Toronto Roller Derby’s Gold Digger Grudge Match between the Bay Street Bruisers and the Chicks Ahoy!. We had an absolute blast but I think I might have overdid it a bit with the alcohol (come to think of it this whole week was a bit of a boozy-binge) my body was crying out for something big and starchy. A usual “my body is a lard temple” meal is a fry-up—fried bacon, fried eggs, fried bread, fried tomatoes, you know, a good Brit breakfast guaranteed to cure the brain-fuzzies. But today I decided on something slightly different. I did a bit of an inventory of the fridge and pantry and decided on pan haggerty.

I always like a dish whose origin is easy to explain and thus move on to the recipe. This one isn’t one of those. Pan Haggerty is essentially an onion, potato and cheese dish although variants include bacon or tinned corned beef. Variously called pan haggerty, panhaggerty, panakelty, or panacalty. The only mention I found that puts forth a reference other than “my gran says” explains that it is a Geordie supper dish originally called panhaggerty, and is said to have taken its name from the French hachis meaning to “chop or slice”. Apparently it is mentioned in a book describing the dialect of Winlaton, near Newcastle. Traditionally Pan Haggerty is always served directly from the pan in which it is cooked. Of course I’ve also found numerous recipes for a “traditional” Irish dish called haggerty, and guess what? Yup, same recipe. Whatever the origin, it is rich, filling and delicious.


7oz potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 sweet onion, finely sliced
4 tbsp bacon drippings (if you don’t have or wish to make this vegetarian, use unsalted butter)
4 oz streaky bacon, sliced into lardons
4oz +1oz sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sour cream (optional for accompaniment—lovely)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Heat half of the bacon fat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-proof pan) and fry the onions until soft, then remove them from the skillet.

2. Fry bacon in same skillet until crispy, then remove them and pit them aside with the onions.

3. Put a single layer of potato into the same skillet and fry until golden brown.

4. Layer onion, cheese, potato, onion, cheese, potato—seasoning between each layer before finishing with potato.

5. Heat the remaining bacon fat and pour over the pan. Put in preheated oven for around 35-40 minutes or until soft.

6. Just before serving, top with 1oz of grated cheddar and put under broiler until bubbling and melty. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


myron said...

i see a theme for a future post - food suitable for roller derby.

Ashley said...

That sounds like a fantastic idea.