February Seasonal Ingredient- Pear, Bacon & Kale Hot Pot

For this month’s savoury seasonal ingredient I decided to use pears! I knew they made great desserts and I’ve seen people use apples with pork so when I found this recipe on BBCGoodFood I knew I had to try it. This recipe is called Klump and is originally a German dish, but I switched it up by not making cheesy mash for the top and instead, doing my favourite “fancy potatoes” and sprinkling cheese on them instead, I think it still worked out fine, and I’m also really enjoying using actual meat recipes and subbing in vegan meat, it really showcases how robust vegan meat is when you can use it in the same way as real meat for a dish, but it’s the taste of the filling I’m most excited to tell you about! 

Serves 2-3

3 Large Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 
5 Rashers of Vegan Bacon (I used THIS branded bacon because I think it’s the most realistic) 
1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Pears, peeled and roughly chopped 
250g Kale 
2 Slices of Cheddar Cheese 

To start with, put a splash of vegetable oil in a pan and cook your bacon until crispy. Once cooked, take out of the pan and put aside. 

Add the onions and pears to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Fry these on medium heat until the onions are a pale golden colour.

Now, put them back in the frying pan with the onions and pears, then add in your kale. Cook this all together for a few minutes until the kale starts to soften and go a deep green colour. 

Pour in 2 tbsp water and stir it through the ingredients making sure it has covered everything. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to low, then leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200C/ 180 Fan/ Gas Mark 6.

Now to prep the potatoes! At this moment I couldn’t find my peeler but it didn't make all that much difference I just think the slices brown better without the skin on. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, arrange them in your roasting tray so you know you have enough to cover the filling, then leave a small gap in the middle for the heat to reach the filling inside. 

Now lightly season the potato slices with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of vegetable oil to help the slices crisp up in the oven. Let this rest while the filling simmers. 

Now your filling should be done! If the filling is too wet, just turn up the heat and let it boil away the excess water. 

Pour your filling into the roasting tray, making sure it's levelly spaced out to all corners then sprinkle half your cheese on top. 

Now, layer your potato slices over the filling, leaving that gap in the middle still and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top! 

Bake the dish in the oven for around 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are crispy. 

That wasn’t too difficult right?! I can’t lie, I wish the potatoes had crisped up more, but I’m gonna blame that on the fact I couldn’t find my potato peeler. The taste of the filling was very very unusual, it wasn’t bad at all if anything it tasted like that mix of sweet and meaty that you get when you put plum sauce on a duck pancake, once you realise the sweetness is coming from the pears then the flavours start to make sense. I was really happy with this, I don’t know if I would cook it again in a hurry, but it's nice to have something else to add to the cookbook repertoire! 
There are only 6 ingredients to this dish too and if you use vegan cheese then it’s very easy to make this dish fully vegan! If you’re looking for something slightly different for dinner then I would suggest giving this a try. 

H x