Updated: Apr 7, 2020
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage Easy (Bloomsbury)
Photography © Simon Wheeler
A warming, rooty supper dish like this is just the thing to sustain you on a cold evening. It is also an exceptionally nice way to eat swede – even if it’s not usually one of your favourite veg. You can use leftover mash, but it’s well worth making the dish from scratch.
About 500g swede
About 500g fairly floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward
100ml whole milk
50g unsalted butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Peel the swede and cut it into pieces, no smaller than a golf ball. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, add salt and bring to the boil. Simmer until completely tender, which will take at least 30 minutes. Drain, return to the hot pan and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
Cook the potatoes in the same way in a separate pan; they will only need 15–20 minutes. Drain, return to the hot pan and allow them to steam for 5 minutes.
Heat the milk and butter together in a medium pan until hot but not boiling. Add the drained potatoes and mash to a smooth, soft purée. Mash the swede in its own pan, then add it to the potato and mash the two together until you have a soft, fluffy, textured mash (it won’t be super-smooth). Add salt and pepper as you mash, being generous with the pepper – it’s delicious with swede.
You can either spread all the potato and swede mash in a large shallow oven dish, or shape it into 4 rough, shallow cakes and put them into individual baking dishes. If the mash is still hot, put it in the oven for 5–10 minutes; if you’re reheating it from cold, allow about 15 minutes. It needs to be piping hot in the middle.
Remove from the oven and use the back of a spoon to create four hollows in the mash. Carefully break an egg into each hollow. Return to the oven for 8–10 minutes until the egg whites are set but the yolks still runny. Add a grinding of black pepper and serve straight away.
ANOTHER TAKE: Alternatively you can fry individual mash cakes in a little oil, turning them once, until crispy, then set these aside and fry 4 eggs to serve on top.