Layers of meltingly tender potatoes, tasty onion slices and molten cheese in one pan, that’s what “Pan Haggerty” is all about, a frugal “end of week” family dish that resonates with me on every comfort food level. I was raised on food like this, and simple though it may be, it filled our tummies and tantalised our taste buds, it was like a big cuddle in a frying pan and to this day this humble dish remains a firm favourite of mine. This one pan meal is perfect when accompanied by a wedge of Stotty Cake and steamed, buttered Savoy cabbage, although we always enjoy it with fresh salads leaves now. It’s easy to make and is one of my family’s most loved recipes, and although no recipe as such was ever written down, I have watched both my grandmother and my mum make it many times, so it is fixed in my memory!
Pan Haggerty is not to be confused with another “Geordie” dish which my grandmother and mother used to make, “Panackelty”, which is similar to Pan Haggerty but is made with potatoes, onions and meat in some form or another – usually bacon, lamb chops or corned beef and is usually baked in the oven and not cooked on top of the stove.
Both dishes are born of frugality and the need to feed your family with hearty and nutritious fare, but pan haggerty is the cheaper of the two dishes as it uses cheese and cheese used to be known as “poor man’s meat”, as it was cheaper than meat – not so today I know!
As I mentioned before, the family recipe for this dish has never been written down anywhere, although mum thinks she does have an old letter somewhere, where her mum (my grandmother) told her how to make it when she was newly married and living away from home. Although it is often called a “Geordie” dish, it is known throughout the North East, and was very popular in mining communities for a quick and tasty supper for the man of the family. Our family recipe uses Cheshire cheese, but any cheese can be used in this recipe, such as Cheddar, Lancashire or Wensleydale.
Although it is a one pan meal, it also makes a fabulous accompaniment to other meals such as sausages and pies…….as well as cold cuts and cooked meats. I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as my family have over the years and as Christmas approaches, I can heartily recommend this North Eastern dish for a simple festive supper when served with chutney and pickles, or even for Boxing Day brunch. My lasting memory of this fish is my grandmother cooking this on an old Aga in her country cottage in Northumberland; I hope you create memories as happy as mine when you cook this.
My Family’s Pan Haggerty Recipe
NOTE: It is hard to apply weights to this recipe, as nanny and mum never used to weigh anything, so I have also added quantities as well as weights)
(Serves 2 as a main meal and 4 as an accompaniment)
* The blogger contributing to this site has received a Kenwood Kitchen Machine to use as part of the recipe creation, any opinion stated by the blogger and their content is the bloggers own.