My first encounter with mashed potatoes was when I was about 5 years old. It came in a box, with multiple little cup-a-noodle-like cups. I loved the the idea that pouring hot water on salty flakes would transform them in flavorful clouds. But of course, these really weren’t mashed potatoes. I was ok with that.
It took me a while to understand how a potato could possibly become flakes. Then it was slighlty mind blowing to realize that you actually mashed potatoes. You’d think I was a slow kid… but I still managed UCSD somehow…
This is my secret mashed potato recipe. Its really not that big of a secret, but it is pretty legendary. It starts with potatoes boiling on a pot. Bacon is then lightly cooked, until an irresistible golden brown. Once the potatoes are soft, they are drained and mashed. The bacon, and all of its grease (and some more butter when I’m feeling naughty) is added in. I then add in cheese, a dash of salt and pepper.
After being transferred to a greased baking dish (lined with foil of course), its sprinkled with bread crumbs and more cheese. My favorite part about this is the fact that this can be prepared early in the morning before everything else and then baked right before dinner begins while the turkey is resting.
Along with the Stuffing this is one of those recipes that is enjoyed by the entire family. I’ve made this for thanksgiving 4 years in a row now, and 2 more times during christmas. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this. In fact, this `will be my only recipe that is not changing this holiday season.
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Parmesan
Adapted from Foodnetwork.com
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 stick butter (optional)
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided use
- 8 oz bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 if you are baking right away. Spray a 13 by 9 inch pan with pam. Set aside.
- Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook potatoes until very tender, about 15 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling, fry bacon until golden brown.
- Drain potatoes and return to pan. Mash well. Mix the bacon, bacon grease, and bacon bits into the potatoes and mix. Add in butter if you are using it along with the milk. Stir to combine. Stir in mozzarella and 3/4 cup of parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer potatoes to baking dish. Combine the remaining parmesan and bread crumbs and cover the mashed potatoes with the mixture. At this point you can let this rest for up to 6 hours which is what I do.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.