Kick up your classic mashed potatoes a few notches with this twice baked mashed potato casserole loaded with 3 types of cheese and crispy bacon! (plus my tips and tricks for the best mashed potatoes)
If I have to narrow down our dinner meals to 3 must-haves potatoes and meat would be one of them. I grew up eating potatoes and chicken at least once a week. My grandparents were growing potatoes in their backyard and my mom was working at a chicken slaughterhouse. It was the only thing we could actually afford. My husband on the other side, grew up eating potatoes and beef since that was his father’s favorite meal.
It’s been a year now since we introduced meat in our diets after being pescatarian for a long time and I just realized we had meat and potatoes for dinner more than any other meals. Baked potatoes are my family’s favorite way to eat potatoes. Mashed potatoes come in second.
This twice baked mashed potato casserole combines both of them. I’ve made it for every holiday dinner table, every time we have guests over and every time we crave homey potatoes. Yes, this casserole is one of our ultimate comfort dishes.
To make this mashed potato casserole you obviously start with potatoes.
For mashed potatoes you need starchy ones. I love Russets potatoes. They make the lightest, fluffiest mashed potatoes. Yukon gold is another type of starchy potatoes. I prefer Russets potatoes or a combination of both.
After you decide which potatoes you like best, remember these tricks for the best mashed potatoes.
– Salt the water before you add the potatoes. I’ve heard stories potatoes take longer to cook if you salt the water, but I haven’t seen any differences. But these is a huge difference in taste! The salt is absorbed during the cooking process seasoning them.
– Add the potatoes while the water is still cold, actually before you even turn the stove on. Doing so will ensure the potatoes cook evenly.
– Once the potatoes are cooked and the water is drained, add room temperature butter/cream/cheese to them. If your butter is cold, it will “shock” the potatoes lowering their temperature making it harder for the butter to be absorbed quickly and evenly.
– Last but just as important as the previous steps, you’ll have to remember to mash the potatoes as little as possible. The more you work them, the gummier, gluier they become. And who wants that? Use a potato ricer or a masher. Never ever use an electric mixer or a food processor when making mashed potatoes.
To make these mashed potatoes casserole you’ll also need:
– mascarpone cheese. cream cheese can also be used also, but I prefer the sweeter milder flavor of the mascarpone cheese.
– a good melting cheese – cheddar, gouda, gruyere, fontina, swiss. My 1st choice is a smoked gouda, but any of these 5 cheeses will work just as well. Swiss cheese is a little sweeter and has a nutty flavor.
– cooked bacon
– a hard cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino Romano or Asiago are my choices.
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