Just because the potato is a simple ingredient doesn’t mean The Potato Cookbook is a simple collection of recipes. Join Australian cookbook author and culinary instructor Dale Whybrow and discover your favorite new spud preparations, like this comforting mashed potato bake that’s easy to make for a crowd.
When you can’t decide if you’d like mashed potato or your favorite baked potato — the one with oodles of cheese, sour cream and bacon — this is the answer. Serve this with sausages and it’s a real winner. Use floury (starchy or roasting) potatoes such as Idaho or Russet.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped, plus extra to grease the casserole dish
- 12 medium potatoes (4 pounds 6 ounces), peeled and cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 teaspoon salt for the cooking water
- 7 ounces rindless bacon rashers (slices), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 spring onions, white and green parts sliced, root end discarded
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the bake
Preheat the oven to 375ºF and grease a large casserole dish, about 13 3/4 x 10 x 2 inches, or use two smaller casserole dishes if preferred.
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with the garlic cloves and the salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and boil until very tender, about 15 minutes, testing with the point of a sharp knife. Drain the potatoes and garlic, reserving one cup of the cooking water, and return them to the saucepan over low heat for two minutes to ensure any excess water has evaporated.
Meanwhile, melt 1 ounce of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat and cook the bacon and spring onions until the bacon is starting to crisp and the spring onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining two ounces of butter and whisk in the sour cream until steaming but not boiling. Add two-thirds of the cheese and stir until melted.
Mash the potatoes and garlic together until very smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the sour cream mixture, the sea salt and pepper and beat until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cooking water, using more if needed, and beat until creamy.
Stir the bacon and spring onions into the potatoes. Taste and add more sea salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared casserole dish with a light hand, keeping the top rough to maximise the crunchy bits. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake until the top is golden, about 30 minutes.