Last month I watched a wonderful film called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and absolutely loved it. I loved it even more when 20 minutes into the movie a strange wartime dish called ‘Potato Peel Pie’ made an appearance, a insipid looking creation facilitating the gag reflex of all uninitiated humans who tasted it. That was enough for me to want to re-create it. Surely it couldn’t have been THAT bad?
Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie was made of 3 ingredients, potatoes, beetroot and milk. With little flour or butter available to the islanders during German occupation, the potato peelings were used to create an open pie crust of sorts instead, into which mashed potato and chopped beetroot was added and then baked in the oven. I absolutely love potatoes but even I could see that without a few extras here and there and even with copious amounts of salt and pepper, this dish was going to be bland without some artistic licence!
I simply added some chopped spring onion (although leeks would have been good to use too) and some margarine to facilitate a pleasing taste. The ‘Potato Peel Pie’ was very tasty, I didn’t skimp on the salt and pepper because without these it would have indeed been very bland.
Here is the recipe for the authentic WW2 “Guernsey Potato Peel Pie” with my additions noted.
WW2 Guernsey Potato Peel Pie
- 2 large potatoes
- Dash of milk
- Salt & pepper
- (I also added spring onion and margarine)
- Wash your two large potatoes and peel the potatoes
- Par-boil the potato skins for 3-5 minutes
- Drain and set aside
- Grease a two person size pie dish
- Place the potato peels on the bottom and around the sides
- Dot in some margarine
- Press the peels down a little to the bottom and sides and sprinkle with salt
- Dice up some slices of beetroot (I used some pickled beetroot) and dot around the base
- Place pie dish in a pre-heated oven at 220C until the potato peels are properly cooked and the edges are browning
- Cut your remaining peeled potatoes into chunks and boil until cooked.
- Drain and set aside.
- Cut up onions or leeks and fry until cooked in a pan
- Add in the cooked potato chunks and mash adding in milk where needed and lots of salt and pepper
- Place the mash into the potato peel pie crust
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue baking in the oven until the top is lightly crisped.
- Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving
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