Our resident chef Mark Hix says its time to use the barbecue for more than just sausages and burgers

 
Mark Hix

You might not think it with the overcast skies this week, but the British barbecue season has begun.

You can already smell the poor quality burgers and burnt-to-a-cinder sausages on the summer breeze, as legions of fair-weather grillers take to their gardens without giving this classic form of cooking much thought. Cooking on fire is not just fun and tasty, but has all sorts of possibilities beyond the usual hot dogs and beef patties.

A few weeks ago, when the weather was a little warmer, I took my new Cobb barbecue down to the riverside to cook some of Peter Hannan’s steaks on. It was then that I realised my fishing buddy and I rarely do a potato dish besides a Bavarian potato salad. So I put my cast iron skillets – which I’d bought in New York a few years back – to the test, cooking up some butchers potatoes at home and warming them on the edge of the Cobb as Peter’s 5000g club steaks began to sizzle. If you’d like to make your next garden party a memorable one, here’s the recipe.

Butchers potatoes recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 30g beef dripping
  • 1tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandolin, side of a grater or sharp knife
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pre heat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6

Method

  • Heat the dripping in a pan and gently cook the onions and thyme on a low heat for 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured.
  • In a heavy skillet or similar layer up the potatoes and onions, seasoning lightly and finishing with an overlapping layer on top and spooning any excess dripping on top.
  • Cook in the oven for about an hour until the potatoes are cooked and lightly coloured on top.
  • You can take this to your barbeque with some foil on top and re heat on the edge of the barbecue.

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