For those of you who have sworn off cheese in 2017 — Look Away. This dish is jam packed with everything that is decadent and fattening. This recipe calls for a full pound of bacon, cheddar cheese and potatoes. The potatoes are parboiled to reduce the amount of time required to finish in the oven. While the potatoes are cooking, you can get started on the delicious bacon and onion mixture. I held off in adding the garlic until the bacon was partially cooked. There is nothing that will ruin a dish faster than burned garlic. The sauce is a basic Mornay sauce — beginning with a roux, adding milk and then shredded cheddar. (This sauce would also be perfect for macaroni and cheese.) You end up with layers of potatoes topped with bacon, onion and garlic bathed in a golden cheese sauce. A half cup of cheddar is sprinkled over the top before it is placed in the oven for 45 minutes. Allow the dish to rest for 15 minutes prior to serving so that it has a time to set up. Top each serving with freshly chopped green onion and . . . Voila!! An upgraded version of scalloped potatoes that will be perfect with just about everything.
POTATO AND BACON BAKE (Serves: 4-6)
- 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and halved (the short way)
- 1 lb bacon, diced
- 2.5 cups medium brown onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
- Parboil potatoes: Boil the potatoes partially (about 10 minutes) so the time they have to cook in the oven will be reduced. Drain water and let cool.
- While the potatoes are boiling, sauté the diced bacon, onion and garlic until the bacon is browned and the onions soft. Remove bacon and onion into a bowl, but do not get rid of the grease in the pan.
- When the potatoes have sufficiently cooled, carefully slice them into disks.
- In the same pan used for cooking bacon and onion, melt butter. Mix in flour and salt, stirring constantly to avoid burning the flour. As soon as the flour is mixed in, begin pouring in the milk, still stirring. Continue to cook until slightly thick, then add 2 cups of cheese and pepper, stirring until melted. Remove from heat.
- Spoon and spread some sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Make a single layer of potato. Sprinkle 1/2 of the bacon and onion mixture, then pour over half of the sauce. Then make a second layer of potato followed by the remaining bacon and onion mixture followed by more sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
- Place the dish into an oven preheated to 350° F (175° C) and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top with chopped green onion. Salt and pepper to taste.
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