Monday, September 28, 2009
My Venture into Potatoes
Who doesn't love potatoes? Potatoes can be part of a healthy diet and provide a fat-free way to get important vitamins and minerals. That is, unless you make this dish. This recipe is not fat-free. It's not reduced-fat. It's comfort food at its finest. I think I owe one of my chins and both of my thighs to this very recipe. I'm not saying you should eat this every day. Make it for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or Tuesday's.
The filling is like thick scalloped potatoes. It's not meant to be soupy. I used to be a vegetarian and made this dish without the bacon. To flavor the cream, I used vegetable bouillon instead of chicken – and it was tasty that way. Still fattening, of course – but meat-free. You might opt to use some cheddar cheese instead of parmesan (or a combination of the two). If using cheddar, I highly recommend grating your own because pre-shredded cheeses do not work as well. I also recommend using 2% cheddar. Otherwise, the filling can get rather oily. Don't be frightened by the amount of garlic. You need it to flavor this quantity of potatoes. If you're in the mood, feel free to make your own pie dough!
I need to take a class on how to get a nice, clean piece of pie out of the dish on the very first try. You'll have to excuse the top photo – it was the best piece I could get out of the dish. The first piece looked like I scooped it out with my bare hands. The second piece wasn't much better. If practice makes perfect, I'm going to have to make a lot more pies!
I took some pictures, ate a piece of the pie, and quickly threw the rest in the trash. It was horrible. You'll hate it. Bacon, potatoes, onion, garlic, and pie dough all taste bad. It would have definitely tasted better with tofu. And Brussels sprouts. When it was baking, my apartment filled with the most INCREDIBLE aromas. Wait. They were BAD smells! Bad smells! It would have smelled so much better with tofu and Brussels sprouts. You believe me, right?!
This dish is really easy to make and feeds a crowd. It's so warm and comforting – your family will love it. Better yet, fix 'em some tofu and Brussels sprouts and your family will treat you like a queen. You know, like Marie Antoinette. Of course, the peasants hated her so she was guillotined – probably after making them eat tofu and Brussels sprouts. Hmm. Something to think about. In any case, enjoy – and happy spudding!
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Scalloped Potato Pot Pie
1 3-oz package real bacon bits (sold in the salad dressing aisle)
1 TBSP butter
1 bunch scallions (white and light green parts), minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cream
1 tsp chicken-flavored bouillon (or 1 cube of bouillon)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan (or sharp cheddar)
2 lbs russet potatoes (3 medium), peeled and thinly sliced
2 refrigerated pie dough sheets
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon bits and cook them for a few minutes to re-crisp them and freshen their flavor. When crispy, spread them out on a plate to cool.
Add the butter to the saucepan. When melted, add the scallions and cook about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute longer. Add the cream, bouillon, and pepper then stir to combine. Heat the mixture until it is hot but yet not simmering. The goal here is to melt the bouillon and infuse the cream with the onion mixture. Take the pan off the heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly while you are preparing the remaining ingredients.
Unroll one of the sheets of pie dough and press it into a 9" deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie dish and remaining pie dough in the refrigerator while you are preparing the potatoes.
Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly. Do not add the potatoes to water because you need the starch from the potatoes to keep them from sliding around when you cut into the pie after it is cooked. I use a mandolin to cut the potatoes but you can use a knife. Shingle 1/3 of the potatoes on the bottom of the pie crust – stacking the potatoes slightly thicker around the edges and thinner in the middle. There's already a lot of salt in the bouillon, bacon, and cheese but I still like to add a pinch of salt to the potatoes because they suck up so much salt when baking. They taste OK without the additional salt so I'll leave that up to you. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1/3 of the bacon and 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Spoon 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Repeat this process two more times to use up the remaining ingredients. Add another sheet of dough to the top of the pie then seal and flute the edges. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Cover the edges of the pie dough with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is a deep brown. When properly cooked, you should be able to easily insert a knife into the potatoes but they should still be firm enough to retain their shape. Let cool 10 minutes before serving – if you can wait that long.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 6:15 AM