When it is cold and blustery outside this is the dish I turn to. For me it is the ultimate comfort food – rich, creamy, full of flavor and filling. I can eat it for dinner and then again the next day for breakfast and lunch. And I don’t wait for winter to make it – I have it all year long! I usually double the recipe just so I can have leftovers. Yep, I love it that much.
I have been looking forward to this week of the Food Network’s #ComfortFoodFest all season. This is the week I get to share one of my favorite recipes with all of you and with the Food Network audience. You can make this potato dish as simple as using just the potatoes and cream, or bump it all the way up by adding more vegetables and layering them throughout. If you are looking for a vegetarian casserole, leave out the bacon. It is all up to you.
As we approach St. Patrick’s Day (on Monday the 17th) we have a lot to celebrate. Spring is almost here, Daylight Savings Time means we have more hours of daylight, we survived the Ides of March, and it is the day that The Artist and I first met. Yep, he met his dream girl, and Irish lass on St. Patrick’s Day! And I met the love of my life, a sexy Italian in an Irish bar. I certainly think my “gang” in heaven had a good laugh when they set this relationship up!
I have quite a few lines of Irish ancestors in my family tree; Irish names keep popping up everywhere I search while doing my family genealogy! Studying your family ancestry is fascinating and gives you a glimpse into the foods your ancestors cooked. I love incorporating Irish foods and preparations into my meals and am, not surprisingly, truly addicted to potatoes!
Potatoes are truly amazing. They are full of vitamins and minerals, are naturally low fat and, as long as you don’t go crazy with the toppings, are very healthy for us. Because they have such a neutral flavor you can add any seasonings to them and turn them into a French, Greek, Italian, or Egyptian side dish. Today I went slightly Mexican by including poblano peppers and fresh cilantro.
Rather than serving the boring and often tasteless boiled corned beef and cabbage this year, consider grilling the corned beef with a mustard glaze and cabbage on the BBQ and serve these potatoes on the side. It will be a meal to remember!
Don’t forget to check out all the amazing recipes in the link list below. Everyone is incredibly creative and I can’t wait to try them all! And for all the recipes from the entire season, follow our Pinterest page!
This dish is naturally gluten-free!
Creamy Potato Casserole with Bacon and Poblano Peppers
© 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
6 to 8 strips of bacon, cooked until medium-crisp, drained and crumbled
4 Poblano peppers
4 large Russet (or Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
1 tbsp organic olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
Additional chopped fresh cilantro, for garnishing, optional
Cook the bacon, drain on a paper towel-lined plate, and when cool enough to handle, crumble into small pieces. Chop any larger pieces with a sharp knife. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler on High. Wash poblano peppers and pat dry. Place on a baking sheet and put under the broiler. Cook until the skin is blistered and blackened, then use tongs to turn the peppers and continue broiling and turning until all sides are blistered. Transfer to a mixing bowl and drape a clean kitchen towel over the top of the bowl. Set aside for about 5 minutes to let the steam loosen the skins.
When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers, discarding the skins, stems and seeds. Do not rinse the peppers. Cut the peppers into long, thin strips and then crosswise into very small pieces.
The bacon and peppers can be prepared a couple of days in advance and stored, separately, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Peel and rinse the potatoes. Cut crosswise into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Brush oil on the bottom and sides of an 8×11-inch baking dish. Lay half of the potatoes in the bottom of the prepared dish, covering the entire surface, and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the bacon and peppers. Top with 1-1/2 cups of the cheese and the cilantro or parsley. Place remaining potato slices over the cheese and pour cream over them. Season top layer of potatoes with additional salt and pepper, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place in the hot oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the foil from the pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle additional chopped cilantro on individual servings if desired.
This makes a great side dish or lunch entrée when served with a tossed green salad. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.
Create a New Tradition Today!
Today’s recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Comfort Food Fest. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
Feed Me Phoebe: Bangers and Spinach Mash with Cider Onions
Dishin & Dishes: Sweet and Savory Potato Stacks
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Potato-Chickpea Masala with Cilantro Chutney
Weelicious: Potato Fans
Haute Apple Pie: Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Taste With The Eyes: Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle and Potato Stack
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Warm Pan Fried Potatoes and Greens Salad
Red or Green: Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Oven Fries
The Sensitive Epicure: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Elephants and the Coconut Tress: Indian Spiced Potatoes
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole
Virtually Homemade: Bacon Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Devour: Mashed Potatoes, Reinvented
FN Dish: 10 Potato Picks (Recipes)
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