If you will have a grill at your tailgate site, make and bake the casserole ahead of time, refrigerate, and then warm it up, foil-wrapped, over indirect heat on the grill while your guests drool with anticipation. Or, assemble and bake the casserole onsite, by bringing the bacon, pancetta topping and potato base wrapped separately and chilled in a cooler (hint: cook extra bacon. People will want sneak a snack while you cook!). Give this casserole a try. You will love the textural contrast between the creamy, cheesy potatoes and the crunchy, hearty, meaty topping. Enjoy! White Cheddar Whipped Potatoes with Bacon Pancetta Crust Makes one 9 inch deep dish casserole
- 5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- 1 pound thick cut bacon
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (plus extra for cooking potatoes)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, divided
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 ounces sour cream, room temperature
- 8 ounces grated white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup buttermillk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon original red Tabasco pepper sauce
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and put in a stock pot filled with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Add kosher salt to the water (to taste). Cook the potatoes over medium high heat until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and put into a large bowl. Cover the potatoes with a clean dish towel and set the bowl aside.
2.While the potatoes are cooking, put the bacon on a wire rack and set the rack on a baking sheet. Cook the bacon in a pre-heated 375 degree oven until crisp. Remove the bacon from the oven and let cool on the wire rack. Remove the bacon and set aside.
3.In a large nonstick saute pan, add the pancetta, onions and shallots. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Raise the eat to medium high and cook the pancetta and onions, stirring constantly until the pancetta is crisp and the aromatics are light golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.
4. To make the potato filling, add the cream cheese, sour cream, white cheddar cheese, buttermilk, parmesan, Tabasco, 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the still warm potatoes. Combine the ingredients with a potato masher until the potato mixture is blended (a few lumps of potato are OK). Put the potato base into deep dish casserole pan.(spray the pan first with non stick baking spray if desired)
5.Smooth the potato mixture into an even layer. Add the parsley to the pancetta onion topping and stir to blend. Spread an even layer of the pancetta topping over the potatoes. Cut the cooked bacon slices into bite size strips. Top the pancetta with the cooked bacon. Warm the casserole in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or refrigerate finished dish and bake until heated through when ready to serve.
Recipe © Sally James Mathis
Photography ©Taylor Mathis