So when I first came across this recipe on Pinterest, it was the name that got me. Twice Baked Potato Casserole. Yummy. Visions of baking potatoes (skin and all) and then making it into some sort of casserole (skin and all) were my thoughts. It wasn't until I looked closer at the instructions that I realized there was no 'twice' baking. You boiled the potatoes and then baked them. Dang. That meant having to peel potatoes. Searching the interwebs I found that this is actually a Martha Stewart recipe called Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Cheddar. But that title didn't do the recipe justice either as it then gets lumped into regular mashed potato recipes (no pun intended with that lumped comment). So, I've renamed this Baked Mashed Potatoes. You can call it whatever you want. Cuz you will call it. Because it's potatoes and cheese and bacon. Which all work in my book.
One of the changes that the other recipes made to Marthas was leaving out the grated onion which I did. Not that I don't like onions, I just got lazy and didn't feel like grating them. Or maybe I just completely forgot to add them. Your choice.
BAKED MASHED POTATOES WITH BACON AND CHEDDAR
(Martha Stewart Living November Holiday 2002)
5 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
8 ounces bacon (about 10 slices)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1 small onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater, juice reserved
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.
Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the onion and any onion juice, chives, 2 cups cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10.
NOTE: I bought one of those five pound bags of russet potatoes thinking that was making it easier. Bad idea. Besides the fact that several of the potatoes were bad (which I couldn't see because the offending potatoes were hidden behind that brown plastic wrapper), they were smaller and took tons of time peeling (do you get the feeling that I don't like to peel potatoes!). Next time I'd just get five pounds of the large russets.
NOTE: Of course I made more bacon than the ten slices called for, who do you think this is anyway? I used regular Oscar Meyer bacon as I thought my regular thick cut stuff from the market might not incorporate as well into the dish. I wanted maximum baconness in each bite.
NOTE: I left out the grated onions entirely. Which I meant to do. You can have a brain fart do that too.
NOTE: Yes, I put more than half a cup of grated cheese on the top. In fact a lot more. I like cheesy.
NOTE: No I did not use a fork to mash five pounds of potatoes. I was lazy and just used my potato masher. I mean who mashes five pounds of potatoes with a fork anyway? (except for Goddess Martha of course).
NOTE: The recipe states that you can make this through step 3 (which is through adding the onion, chives, cheese, bacon, and combining) the night before and bake it the next day.
I did find the dish to be a bit on the dry side (which might be because I used more of a flat rectangle dish to bake in instead of a deep round dish?) but nothing that a bit of butter or some added sour cream on my part didn't fix. Or maybe that was just because I usually like my baked or mashed potatoes swimming in butter and sour cream? Definitely make this again (and it really would be great for a pot luck).