This pie is typical Irish fare: comfort food at its best. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I make this with only a bottom crust. I find a top crust too starchy with the potato being the main filling. There are many variations of the dish. This particular recipe is my version after reading and tasting some of these potato pie recipes. I hope you enjoy this perhaps on a cold, wintery evening. I serve it with a Caesar salad for an easy but delicious meal. Reheat for breakfast. I had a very similar version of this pie in Navan, County Meath, very near where I lived in Trim. Friends would take me a couple times a month to a larger grocery store in Navan so I could get large quantities of food. During the week when I ran out, I would walk downtown to the smaller shops and bag drag the items home. I learned to be very organized, or I would send Erin or Eli to buy something I needed right then. I never had a car except for one month when we toured so stayed thin because we walked so much.
Interesting note: though born in Drogheda, the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan was raised in Navan, lived there for 12 years, and considers it his hometown. The first time I saw him was in the popular mini series Manions of America in 1981. I thought he was so cute though not a great actor. I loved him in Remington Steele and Mamma Mia! especially.
IRISH POTATO, BACON, AND CHEESE PIE [Serves 6]
Crust for bottom layer
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
16 pieces of crisp bacon, broken into pieces
16 ounces of extra sharp cheese, grated
½ cup of Romano cheese, grated
½ stick of butter plus a few pats for topping
¼ cup of flour
2½ cups of milk
1½ T. of Provençal herbs [Blend of lavender, thyme, savory, basil, and fennel]
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375º. Prepare pie plate. I use a 10-inch for this recipe. It makes a large pie. If you want to make a 9-inch pie, just reduce the ingredients a bit or it will spill over into the oven when baking. [If you are in a hurry, use the refrigerated crust already rolled, but do not bring the crust to the top of the pie plate as it might overbrown in the oven since they are for 9-inch pies. Again, if you are making a 9-inch, this crust will fit perfectly.] Place the crust onto the plate. Make the cream sauce by melting the butter, adding the flour to make a light roux. Add the milk and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in the Provençal herbs continuing to stir until thickened. Place ⅓ of the potatoes in a swirl formation on the bottom of the plate adding ⅓ of the bacon, ⅓ of the sharp cheese, and ⅓ of the cream sauce. Lightly salt and pepper each layer. Layer the rest of the ingredients in order. Top with a few pats of butter and the Romano cheese. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown, potatoes are tender, and fork comes out clean.