Cheesy Potato Bake Surprise

A fantastic vegetarian friendly dish. Sorry there’s no picture – we ate it all! This is a variation of this  Creamy Cheese & Potato Bake.

Time: 1hr 50.  Preparation 40m, Cooking time  1hr 10m. 200C.

(Serves 6)


1.5kg (once peeled) of Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes

2 Punnets/300g of mixed woodland or oriental mushrooms.

100g of spinach leaves (or a big handful)

75g of gruyere Cheese – grated.



Two cloves of Garlic, or one large (crushed)

Two knobs of butter, and some for greasing.

1 red onion, finely sliced or diced.

100ml White Wine (yes – you can drink the rest).

300ml Milk

400ml Double cream

50g Cheddar – optional cheese monster edition.

Tools (don’t eat them)

A large oven proof dish – approx 30cm x 20cm x 5cm deep

Kitchen foil


Potato Prep

First, peel the potatoes. This made me grumpy, so play some happy music. Put them  them in a large pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil, boiling for no more than 5 minutes. We’re just getting them softer. Drain and leave to cool down enough so you can manhandle them. Grease the dish with butter.

Mushroom Prep

While the potatoes are cooling, chop the mushrooms up into slices and crush the garlic. Add some butter to a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms and garlic till reduced and ready to eat. Don’t do it, they are tempting little buggers.  Drain the excess oil off and place the mushrooms in a bowl and save for later.

Cheese Prep

Those potatoes are probably still hot – so grate your cheese, keep the two types of cheese separate to confirm your OCD.

Spinach Prep

Chop up the spinach and put aside.

Potato hell

Now, with a nice large kitchen knife slice the potatoes to approx 5mm thickness. They should be nice and easy after being softened. This takes forever and is sticky work. Drinking wine helps, until you cut yourself. Layer the slices in the dish, until you’ve laid out half the potatoes. Or two layers.

Now lay out the mushrooms & spinach on top. Add half of the Gruyere cheese and half of the Cheddar if going full monster. Slice the rest of the potatoes, but do not place them in the dish yet. Move onto the sauce when they’re all sliced.


Add a knob of butter to a large pan and fry the onions until golden and soft.

Do NOT add the milk yet, it will curdle.

Add the wine first, that’s super important, simmer to reduce & remove the alcohol.

Add the cream next, and stir in.

Now add the milk. Hopefully it won’t curdle!!

Give it a few good grinds of salt and pepper. Did I mention you can drink the rest of the wine? Gently heat the sauce until about to boil, then pour half the mixture evenly over the bottom layer of potatoes/mushrooms/spinach.

Add the rest of the potatoes to make two more layers then add the remaining sauce evenly over the top layer. Add the remaining cheeses evenly.


Cover the dish in foil (shiny side up!), and cook at 200C for 30m (or 40m if you cut things too thick).

Uncover the dish and cook for approximately 40m, until the dish looks amazing – with crispy cheese on show. The ultimate test is that you can push a fork into the dish and hit the bottom without much force, but not so little that the potatoes have turned to mash. Serve with something other than carbs or gravy.

Tip: If you can’t live without meat, remove the salt content and add chopped bacon in the middle layer.

What’s the surprise?

Either the mushroom layer, or the fact you still like potatoes after slicing hell!

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