Some of the best meal ideas happen to me, and I bet to a lot of you as well, when I try to make use of the leftovers tucked away in the fridge. Somehow facing a culinary challenge is a great test for your brain and for your taste buds. A true food for thought. Or actually a thought that turns into food. It was a whim of a moment to combine a few boiled potatoes, some slices of ham and leftover cheese with leeks and pineapple. But it worked. And in fairness still works outstandingly well. Obviously, it gets its name from the pineapple, or ananas as the majority of European countries call it and because of that makes it a rather summery dish. After all, isn’t a pineapple just a sunny circle that brings sunshine and reminds of palm beach holidays.
I spent my early childhood completely unaware of a pineapple and I could not pinpoint when exactly it made its appearance on our tables. But once it did – everyone started to include it in their meals for the exotic touch and sophisticated vibe. Suddenly all menus were full of pineapple – kind of like the omnipresent chia seeds nowadays. My mum would make amazing pork chops with a slice of pineapple and melted cheese on the top. An absolute crowd-pleaser and jaw-dropper in the 80s. That is, if you only like pineapple. I know a few who don’t. And they were unfortunate enough and brave enough to share the Hawaiian Bake with us. My brilliant neighbour managed to have a hearty portion and never said a word yet strangely avoided any other dinners at our place. It took me a good few meals to convince him that I am actually not such a bad cook and even longer for him to confess he simply doesn’t like the pineapple. Anyway, but for this one case everyone seems to love the dish and usually asks for a recipe afterwards. So there it is. The Hawaiian Bake.
800 g potatoes (washed, unpeeled and boiled)
50 g butter
250 g ham (or more)
1 pineapple (or a can of pineapple)
250 g cheese
2 cobs of ready-to-eat corn cobs or 1 tin of corn (optional)
salt and pepper
a 20 cm x 30 cm (or similar) ovenproof baking dish
Slice the boiled potatoes and layer them on the bottom of the ovenproof baking dish.
Cut each leek in quarters along their length starting 1 cm below the white tip as that will hold the leek together for washing. See full instructions here. Thoroughly rinse the leeks and pat them dry. Add leeks and butter to a medium pot and saute on a very low heat for about 10 minutes. Leeks love butter and will soak up any amount so you might want to add a knob more once they’re cooking. Once soft and shiny spread the leek on the potato layer.
Cut the ham into about 5 mm x 20 mm slices. Add another layer to your dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Prepare the pineapple. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple then cut the skin off with a knife just like in this video here. Cut the pineapple into chunks and layer it onto the ham.
If adding the corn layer – hold the corn cob upright and run a sharp knife down along the kernels base to cut them off the cores. Spread the corn kernels on the pineapple layer.
Grate your cheese and generously sprinkle over the dish adding the final layer.
Place in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
Once the cheese is bubbly and golden and all the flavours blended in the heat remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
Enjoy and share.