Ranch House Potato Casserole
This tasty potato casserole combines the flavors of chuckwagon chow—bacon, cheddar cheese, onion, and bell pepper—with mashed potatoes.
4 large (2 pounds) russet baking potatoes
3 tablespoons dry white wine or beer
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, butter, or bacon fat
1 large green pepper, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
5 slices (4 ounces) bacon, fried and drained
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 cup diced sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Put the whole unpeeled potatoes into a large saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1-inch. Place over high heat, partially cover and bring to a boil. Boil over moderately high heat until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Drain.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, pull off the skins with the aid of a paring knife. Put them into a large bowl; add the wine, butter, salt and pepper and coarsely mash with a potato masher or large fork.
- Spoon the olive oil or other fat into a large heavy skillet and place over moderate heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and basil; sauté to soften the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Turn out over the mashed potatoes. Coarsely crumble the bacon over the mixture and stir in the vinegar. Fold in the diced cheese. (If assembling ahead of time, let the mixture cool to room temperature before adding the diced cheese. If desired, cover and refrigerate overnight; bring to room temperature before baking.
- Adjust an oven shelf to the top third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and prepare the casserole.
- Turn the potato mixture into the casserole and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar and paprika.
- Bake in the top of the oven for about 25 minutes or until hot and golden brown. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the edges to loosen, cut into squares or rectangles.
Makes 4 servings.