Monday, 27 February 2012

Feed 4 for £6: Spring Green and Bacon Potato Cakes with Cheddar and Chive Sauce

Spring greens offer so much in their name. They suggest that either spring is here or is just around the corner, they have disguised their cabbage relations with their seasonal pseudonym. I happen to think that spring greens also deliver a lot. They look shrivelled and unwelcoming with their leaves closed to the outside world but once you start to snap them off and slice them up they are wonderfully versatile. As a relation to the cabbage, spring greens lend themselves particularly well to a pairing with bacon. Spring greens and bacon are a delectable combination but don't make for much of a meal on their own. However, when mixed into some mashed potato and smothered in a rich cheese and chive sauce, what a meal it makes. 
 


For the potato cakes:
600g potatoes (Maris Piper are ideal)
£0.54
Milk and butter (for the mash)
£0.20
6 rashers smoked, streaky bacon
£1.50
4-5 big leaves savoy cabbage (or Spring greens)
£0.20
Salt and pepper
£0.02
For the cheese sauce:
25g butter
£0.15
25g plain flour
£0.02
300ml milk
£0.10
75g strong cheddar cheese
£0.85
Small handful fresh chopped chives
£0.40
Total
£3.98
 

First and foremost make some mashed potato. Maris Pipers I found to be particularly good; they are fluffy enough to make mash like a cloud and yet waxy enough to hold the greens and bacon in. Mash your potatoes as you see fit; add milk, butter, cream and anything you fancy but don't forget the salt and pepper. While the potatoes are boiling away, slice some bacon and fry in a pan. Snap the leaves of the spring greens off and shred it finely. Add to the bacon and carry on frying until lovely and golden. For two people I used four rashers of bacon and five large spring green leaves.
Mix the bacon and spring greens into the mash and form into cake shapes. I made four largish cakes. If you are brave, fry them until brown on both sides; they have a tendency to break up and fall apart if you aren't patient with them. Patience is not one of my virtues and so I put a little knob of butter on top of the cakes and put them under the grill.
While the cakes are browning, make the cheddar and chive sauce. Melt a little butter in a pan, stir in some flour and keep cooking for a minute or so. Whisk in milk a little at a time making sure there are no lumps. Making a roux like this means it's difficult to give amounts. I used roughly a dessert spoon of butter, the same of flour and enough milk to make the sauce the consistency I wanted it. I always add less milk and add more if it's too thick. When the sauce is glossy, remove from the heat and add a handful of grated cheddar and a healthy amount of chopped chives.
I consider this to be a humble meal but one that gives you a bit of everything. It has warmth, crispy bits on the top, comfort from the potato, salty bacon, your mouth is coated with silky cheese sauce and the chives add a brilliant freshness. This might not be magnificent in appearance but it is marvellous in flavour; just like spring greens themselves.

22 comments:

  1. Humble meals are always the greatest, and when you combine bacon, potato and cheese, something magical happens. I love that you added texture by grilling the cakes, its like the crispy bits when you make shepherds pie.

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  2. yum! cheddar and chive sauce! sounds amazing

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  3. Mmmmm.... Potatoes, Bacon and cheese...love it :))

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  4. Spring greens I just love them. It's the first really green stuff that hits us after a long winter and as soon as I see it on the shelves it's mine. My family, however always ask about the 'unfamiliar' green stuff on the table at this time of year (but do eat it). Every year I sound like a broken record... spring greens... first of the season bla bla. Your bacon, spud thing is GOOD and may convert them. Try also the Italian way.. 'Riceta Tipica'.. basically lightly fried greens with garlic and then dressed with olive oil and lemon :)

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  5. Sounds great! Sometimes the siple things are the best!

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  6. Yum, such lovely classic flavours. Lucky ducks going into spring eh?

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  7. Its hard to believe that spring is around the corner when we have a snow storm coming tonight! These look perfect to curl up with on a cold night. I just love how you describe each recipe - its just like being in the kitchen with you!

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  8. This is an excellent recipe. It is healthy, filling and flavourful. I love the ideas of combining vegetables, potatoes and cheese. Great presentation too. Well done you!

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  9. Mmm, these look fresh and spring-appropriate :) Very nice recipe!

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  10. Awesome mash with bacon and greens, I want this now! Great post!

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  11. I think after seeing my recipe of jacket potatoes, you would have realize how much potatoes have become one of those we simply drool.

    This tasty looking potato cakes add on another one of potato recipe for me try and enjoyed into at the same time.

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  12. Mmmm this is like a super update on bubble & squeak! x

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  13. potato, bacon, cheddar, chives...DELICIOUS! this sounds like perfect comfort food :)

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  14. Those cakes look amazing! I have to get veggie bacon (I know it's not the same) to try this recipe :)

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  15. maybe humble but it tastes for sure amazing! absolutly support u with this dish.

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  16. first time in ur space...potato, bacon, cheddar,chives....wow...that makes one complete n delicious meal...loved it....I'm ur new follower now !if u like seafood recipes, I hav a blog only on fish recipes.....do visit my space in ur free time :-)

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  17. I love this humble meal! Very tasty!

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  18. Love this for lunch! would be nice as small bites or appetizers.

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  19. Great potato and bacon burguer-cakes: so tasty!

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  20. I love these cakes, they must be very tasty!

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  21. Thanks for the friend request on Foodbuzz! :) I buzzed ya.
    These potato cakes look delish!

    Look forward to more recipe swapping :)

    --shelley

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  22. That recipe could come in at even less than £4 if you used leftovers of mash from the night before...
    I always fry potato cakes, but I might try your grilling method next time.

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