Potatoes are a staple in our house. We eat them a lot. Because we eat them so frequently, I am always looking for new ways to cook them so we are not always eating the same thing. I get bored with the same old, same old. I am always doing “research” and am always on the lookout for something new, something different and something exciting to bring to my dishes and to our meals. My research is not difficult. It just means pouring through my own ever-growing library of cookbooks. Sometimes I look for things online too, but there is something special about going through the books to find the right dish for the meal of the day. On my latest quest, I discovered this recipe for a potato casserole with bacon and caramelized onions that just sounded really interesting, so I had to give it a try. I will definitely be making these more often from now on too. I served this dish along with my roast and the roasted Brussels sprouts in cream sauce. A Roasted Dinner and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce
This recipe is a traditional French recipe, known as pommes de terre boulangere or baker’s potatoes. The name comes from the times when villagers all used the residual heat from the baker’s ovens to cook their meals at the end of the day. The meats would roast on the upper shelves of the oven while casseroles and other foods would cook on the lower shelves beneath the meats. The juices from the meats would drip down and flavor all the dishes below. This cooking method is no longer used, but the name pommes de terre boulangere has remained ever since.
Potato Casserole with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
3 lbs large potatoes, sliced very thin – I sliced them in my food processor, but a mandolin or a very steady hand and sharp knife works well too
4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces about 1″ in size – I like to use the thick pepper bacon, especially for dishes like this
1 onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups beef broth
4 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces – more if needed
1 TBSP garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 425* F – or when roasting meats at the same time, adjust to the temperature of the meat and adjust the time as needed.
Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray
Cook the bacon in a saute pan for about 10-13 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. Then remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In the same pan, add the onions and garlic and cook on a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the onions are softened and golden in color. Add a tsp of water at a time as needed if the onions are browning too fast and sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
When the onions are cooked and golden brown, add them to the potatoes, along with the bacon and the seasonings. Mix everything together well and transfer everything to the prepared baking dish. Firmly press everything down into the pan. Add both the chicken broth and the beef broth, making sure to completely cover the potatoes. Cut the butter into small pieces and arrange evenly over all the potatoes. I think next time, I may even use more butter pieces. I am like Julia Child, “there is no such thing as too much butter”.
Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown around the edges and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Before serving, let the potatoes stand for about 20 minutes so the moisture and liquid is fully absorbed into the potatoes.
The potatoes came out a little crispier than what I intended, but that tends to happen when I let my husband into the kitchen. I get everything all ready for him and leave him cooking instructions. Sometimes he follows them, and others times, not so much. Oh well. It still came out very good, and is definitely a “do-over”.