Homity pie with red onion gravy

Homity pie, or Devon pie for Devonians, is a traditional potato and leek open pie that gained popularity with the Land Girls during the rationing of the Second World War. During the vegetarian revolution of the Sixties, it became a firm favourite on the menu of the veggie pioneers, Cranks. Traditionally served on its own or with a little salad, I felt that my pie deserved a rich red onion gravy!

serves 2 – twice!


for the Homity pie
25g butter
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 small leeks, halved and cut into 2cm strips
500g potatoes: I used Galician yellow fleshed ones
300g swede
1 small apple
small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
small handful of curly parsley, finely chopped
100ml single cream
100g grated cheese: cheddar/ Emmemntal
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the red onion gravy
25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
1 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tbsp flour
200ml red wine
500ml vegetable stock
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red onion gravy:

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes while stirring; then turn down the heat and cover the pan.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. After 30 minutes remove the lid, add the maple syrup and turn up the heat to caramelise a little.
  5. Lower the heat and stir in the flour for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the red wine and simmer to reduce a little before adding the stock.
  7. Simmer and reduce to the desired consistency.

Homity pie:

  1. Cut the potatoes and swede into 2cm-3cm pieces.
  2. Steam the potatoes and swede until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the butter and gently cook the leek, apple and garlic until softened.
  4. Stir in the thyme leaves.
  5. Gently stir in the cooked potatoes and swede.
  6. Stir in the cream and half the grated cheese.
  7. Add the parsley and season to taste.
  8. Remove to a bowl and allow to chill.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  10. Grease a 22cm pie dish with butter. Gently centre the circle of pastry over the dish and ease it down into the crease. Use a sharp knife to trim any excess – do allow for shrinkage though! I would leave a good centimetre.
  11. Fill with the now cool mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is cooked and the cheese is starting to brown.
  13. Cut a generous slice and spoon over the gravy.


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