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[personal profile] debgeisler
Typical recipes for au gratin potato dishes involve heavy cream. I don't think this recipe (which uses bacon fat for the roux) is *less* caloric, but it is an interesting take on the average recipe. We like it very the recipe first from the cookbook Favorite Brand Name Cookbook. This was not a cookbook I would have bought for myself, but we've gotten 3-4 really exemplary recipes out of this book, including this one. (We just ignore when it tells us to use specific brands of ingredients.)

Here's the recipe:

Cheese & Bacon Potato Bake (with ham...)
  • 1 can (13.75 fl. oz.) chicken broth
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices of bacon (we typically cook this already diced)
  • 1 ham steak (6-8 oz.), cut in 1/2 inch dice (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1. Put potatoes, onions, and chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Strain the broth into a measuring cup. You will need 1.5 c. for the rest of the recipe.

    2. Cook the bacon in a skillet, rendering the fat. Remove cooked bacon to paper towels, reserving the bacon fat. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat.

    3. Return skillet to the heat, adding the flour to the hot bacon fat. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Add the reserved chicken broth, whisking until smooth and thickened. Remove skillet from heat, add cheese, and stir until smooth.

    4. In 6 quart casserole (we use one that is oblong), layer in ingredients: start with a layer of 1/3 of the potato and onion mixture, add in 1/3 of the bacon, 1/3 of the ham (if using), and then top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Continue to layer until you're all out of ingredients. (If you want to get fancy, top with grated parmigiano-reggiano. This helps with browning and adds a bit of umami kick.)

    5. Put uncovered casserole into a 400°F oven. Cook for 35 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let this cool for about 10 minutes, then spoon out and eat carefully. (Will be hot.) Serve with a salad or some fruit if you wish.

    This is one of those meals that helps when the temperature is 45.9°F on 28 May. That would be why we made it tonight. :-)
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