Alsatian Potato Casserole

  • 1 T unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus extra for greasing pie plate
  • 2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Salt
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs onions (about 5 medium), halved and sliced thin
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°. Lightly butter 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate.

2. Place potatoes in large pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt to taste. Bring potatoes to boil over high heat, then lower heat to maintain gentle simmer. Cook until potatoes are barely tender but still firm, about 7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook potatoes; they should still hold their shape nicely. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels and drain well. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat in pan. Add onions to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions wilt and begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until onions are very soft and brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in garlic and remove pan from heat.

4. Cover bottom of prepared pie plate with single layer of potato slices and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread half of onions over potatoes, followed by one-third of bacon and one-third of cheese. Arrange second layer in same manner, seasoning with salt and pepper and topping with remaining onions and half of remaining bacon and cheese. Cover with remaining potatoes, arranging slices slightly overlapping around outside of pan and then filling in open spaces with remaining potato slices. Sprinkle with bits of butter, remaining bacon, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour broth over casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

5. Cover pie plate with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until cheese has melted and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. To serve, cut straight down through all layers into wedges.

Yield: 6 servings

From Cook’s Country Magazine, submitted by Lillian Julow

Katie: I wasn’t super excited as I looked through this magazine for our recipe this week. On my second round, I saw that they were having a potato casserole contest! I love potato casserole! I looked through these, and this recipe caught my attention. The magazine calls this recipe “…light, having no cream and very little butter.” We thought that it wasn’t really “light,” as it had bacon and cheese, but we found it quite delicious! The Gruyere was superb and it was not very complicated. The most time consuming part was caramelizing the onions. I took that time to get everything else ready. I did step 3 before step 2 so that I could get the onions cooking as soon as possible. After I had everything ready, it was easy to layer the ingredients into the pan and get it in the oven. We had decided to have grilled steaks and Swiss chard for dinner with our potato casserole. The grocery store was not cooperating with our plans, so we had roast beef and sauteed cabbage with the casserole. Since we ended up making roast beef in the oven, I made a very small potato casserole in the toaster oven. It worked out fine and was nice not to have so many leftovers. We used one huge potato and one medium onion and cut the rest of the ingredients by four except the garlic. I accidentally prepared two cloves, but we decided being garlic lovers that we would put it all in! As I stated earlier, it was quite delicious! So whether you have a large family or a small one, this recipe will work for you! Let us know your results if you try it!

Gray:  This was awesome.  I think it is probably one of our best recipes.  The whole thing was a great experiment.  The roast beef turned out great, and the potatoes had a really great flavor, you got the bacon, onions, cheese, and potatoes without being overwhelmed by any of them.  The Gruyere was delicious and was definitely worth the extra expense.  Not only did it taste great, but it really looked nice, and this is a dish you could make in big family-style quantity or make little individual portions for a special event.

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