Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blue cheese scalloped potatoes with chipotle and bacon

Blue cheese scalloped potatoes chipotle bacon

Now, if you’re watching your weight you should stop reading right now, as these blue cheese scalloped potatoes with chipotle and bacon are not exactly waistline friendly. But believe you me—they are luxuriously good.

The inspiration for these came from a quick trip to Texas last week. It had been a few years since I’d seen the bluebonnets, and when a cheap, last minute fare to Austin presented itself to me, I immediately booked a flight.

My vague notion was that I would drive around Central Texas, and would be blown away by all the wildflowers. The reality, however, was a bit less spectacular as the weather had been dry and not many flowers had popped out of the ground just yet.

As I spoke to people in the various small towns I visited, I heard that the best bluebonnets were to be found in North Texas, with an exceptionally fine showing in Ennis. So even though my plan had been to spend my brief time in Texas in the Hill Country, I changed course and headed north.

After a night’s rest, I woke up before dawn and drove to Ennis, arriving just as the sun was rising. I’d found a map of the bluebonnet trail, and began to make my way to the areas marked as being especially lush. The reports did not lie—I’d never seen such a spectacular showing of bluebonnets.

Narrow, winding roads curved around farms with rolling hills and pastures blanketed in blue. I don’t know if the area’s farmers plant seeds or if these bluebonnets are wild, but the display was breathtaking. At one point, I stepped out of the car and could see nothing but fields and flowers for miles and miles. Save for an occasional house or cow, there were no other signs of civilization—I felt like the pioneers must have felt when the first saw Texas in all of its wild, unfettered glory.

Before heading back to Austin for my flight home, I stopped at a small-town cafĂ©—the kind of place where the walls are covered in football uniforms, and the waitress greets you with a hearty, “Hey, Hon’!” On the board, cream potatoes were listed as one of the vegetables of the day. I ordered them, thinking that the potatoes would be sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce. But instead, they were just mashed potatoes, though very good mashed potatoes as they were full of lovable lumps, which told me they were made from scratch.

But you know when an idea gets into head and you can’t shake it out? Well, that’s how it was with the potatoes—I suddenly had a crazy craving for scalloped potatoes. So when I returned to New York, my first order of business was to at last make the creamy potatoes that I had hoped to eat in Texas.

In my fridge, I had some blue cheese so I added that to the potatoes. And as I always have bacon and chipotle chiles, I also threw them in, as I figured they’d play well with the other ingredients. It took a couple of tries to get this right (I don’t recommend putting heavy cream in a blender with garlic and chipotle chiles unless you want to make chipotle-garlic butter), but once I figured it out, I was extremely satisfied.

Blue cheese scalloped potatoes chipotle bacon

As I said earlier, this is a dish that is probably best saved for special occasions, such as Easter or other family gatherings. That said, it takes little time to prepare and if you’re looking to live a little large, you can’t go wrong with these potatoes made just a little fancier with blue cheese, chipotle and cream.

Blue cheese scalloped potatoes with chipotle and bacon

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled and divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 canned chipotle chile
Pinch of nutmeg
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch round slices
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, such as cast-iron, with the oil.

Pour the half-and-half into a blender and add half of the blue cheese (2 ounces), the garlic, chipotle chile and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Pour the blender contents into a bowl. Add the heavy cream and whisk the two together.

Arrange half the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the skillet. Lightly season the potatoes with salt and black pepper. Pour half of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Top with half of the remaining blue cheese crumbles (1 ounce).

Layer on top the remaining potato slices. Lightly season the potatoes with salt and black pepper. Pour the rest of the thickened cream mixture on top, and top with the rest of the blue cheese (1 ounce).

Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, take off the foil and arrange on top the shredded cheddar and the crumbled bacon. Bake for 20 more minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling and the potatoes are soft.

Yield: 8 servings

Note: I like a lot of cheese, but feel free to cut back if you prefer.

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59 comments:

Melissa said...

Thanks for this awesome recipe. I also commented on your Facebook post. I remember, when I first moved from Texas to Manhattan, years ago, trying to find "hominy" in a can in the A&P that was on the ground floor of my apartment building at 83rd and 3rd Avenue....no way! I now live on Saint Simons Island, GA, where it is readily available! I grew up with my Mom making a wonderful skillet supper, chili based that had hominy and it was always my comfort food when living away from Texas. Glad I can find it now and I hope it is more readily available in NYC now!

Love your recipes!

Whitney said...

Bluebonnets are so magically. I used to love the fields growing up that were mixed up with Indian Paint Brushes. The Midwest wins the fall color battle but Spring is pretty magic in TX.

Thanks again for sharing and warming my homesick Texan heart.

SeattleDee said...

Lovely combination of images - pastures blanketed in blue and an iron skillet filled with decadent potatoes. Mmmmmm, save the crispy edges for me, I'll nibble while I dream of those rolling bluebonnet-covered hills.

Caroline Shields said...

Love, love, love lovable lumps! Kind of want to go to TX now.

Celeste said...

Wow, these would really be nice at an Easter brunch because of the bacon. That is some fine-lookin' bacon.

Shelley said...

This is beyond comfort food--more like bliss food!

I used to drive between Dallas and Corsicana--lovely flowers--lots of ideas for writing generated on that drive.

Little Black Car said...

Yeah, sorry; it's been a bad year for flowers. The drought whacked the bluebonnets and Indian blanket, and the freeze this past winter set the azaleas back. Houston had its Azalea Trail house tour a couple of months ago but there weren't any flowers: They all bloomed two weeks after the fact. Even our salmon Ever-blooming, which normally blooms all the way from November through about April, only put out one spurt of blossoms back in March.

Scalloped potatoes were one of the few things my mother made that I simply would not eat. I think she must have gotten her recipe from her own mother, whose cooking skills, I'm told, ranged from disinterested to downright incompetent (so much for being nostalgic about Grandma's cooking, right?). Potatoes in bland white sauce. I don't think they had cheese or even onion. Literally the only form of potatoes I've ever encountered that I didn't like.

Mom likes blue cheese, though. Maybe I can get her to reform.

Michelle Stiles said...

Awwww... Lovable lumps.... Blue bonnets make me yearn for Texas. Nothing like it.

Plum Texan said...

Agreed, it's a quiet year for wildflowers. I just spent a week in DFW and I45 from and to Houston was decidedly less blue than normal for early April. This, of course, just made all that was there more precious! Still plenty of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, black-eyed Susans (like me!), evening primrose (my favorite!), and others to see. Maybe next year will be a carpet year again?

Fantastic-looking recipe, as always. Been thinking about scalloped potatoes around here too!

Kirsten said...

The fam from Texas will be here for Easter. We were talking last night about sides, and 'scalloped' and 'potatoes' were thrown around all too often. So perfect that you posted this. Thank you!!!

Janus said...

Lisa, what you need to do is get some bluebonnet seeds and plant them in a window box.

The recipe looks yummy (as always), but I have one question: Why the nutmeg?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Melissa--Yep, I still have to hit a few grocery stores until I find hominy!

Whitney--There were just a few Indian Paint Brushes last week, but yes, I love the two together!

SeattleDee--I'm a fan of the crispy edges myself!

Celeste--Yep, I think it would be great at an Easter brunch, too!

Shelley--It is a beautiful drive, especially this time of year.

Little Black Car--Same thing happened in Burnet last weekend. They had their annual bluebonnet festival with no bluebonnets! Not a good year for Texas flowers.

Michelle--There is indeed nothing quite like them. Love the bluebonnets!

Plum Texas--That's one way to look at it--you do treasure more what you do see when there are so few.

Kirsten--You're welcome! Hope y'all try it and like it!

Janus--I tried planting seeds, but it didn't work out for me. The nutmeg just tastes good.

Laura A said...

I'm not a Texas native, but my husband is. We have ambitions of moving there once he's finished his masters program. These pictures make me want to be there with his family (and those flowers) even more! I never would have dreamed that, as a CA girl born & raised, I would EVER become a Texas girl, but I confess to loving the Lone-star state...

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Laura--Texas is a very lovable state!

Kartik @ Bakeology 101 said...

Now I really want to get a good cast iron skillet - I feel like I'm missing out on so many good recipes old-fashioned skillet cornbread - do you have any kind of recommendations for cast iron skillets from your experience?

Love the site!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kartik--Mine are all hand-me-downs from my family, but you can find used ones at yard sales and antique stores, and Lodge makes good new ones.

mark.a.jeffcoat said...

Every time you post a new recipe, I get a little more homesick. This is definitely one I am going to try very soon.

Tommy said...

That's a new spin on scalloped potatoes. There is alot going on flavorwise. If you say it's awesome, I'll try it.

Aunt Jill said...

Hi sweetheart, this looks delish. This year we are doing a softball game/cookout with Dan's family for Easter. Jason insists on a brisket so I think your scallop potatoes will fit the bill perfectly.

Holly said...

I usually come to your blog hungry, and leave hungrier. This looks gut-wrenchingly delicious.

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

Thank you for this awesome recipe. I will be making it very soon!

John Atkinson said...

Green with envy. As a Connecticut resident from Marble Falls, TX (70 mile NE of Austin)I haven't managed to get there for bluebonnets since the spring of 2007.

I think making these potatoes this weekend will ease the separation anxiety some.

Thanks for this great blog!!!!

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

There is nothing better than the combo of blue cheese and bacon - and potatoes are the perfect foil. I totally know what you mean - you order what you think is coming and it doesn't turn out to be what you thought and you can't get it out of your head. Your potaties look awesome!

Jean said...

Missed seeing you in Texas.
The potatoes sound delicious. When did you start using so much rich cream.

Love you.
Grandma Jean

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Mark--Hope you enjoy it!

Tommy--They are indeed awesome!

Aunt Jill--What a fun Easter y'all have planned! These will go great with brisket.

Holly--They're decadent but very, very delicious!

Maris--You're very welcome!

John--Marble Falls is such a beautiful place!

Katie--Blue cheese and bacon is such a wonderful combination!

Grandma--I missed seeing you, too! As for the heavy cream, I do like to indulge sometimes.

Muffin Tin said...

Potato lingo from my North Louisiana upbringing:

creamed potatoes = mashed potatoes

stewed potatoes = smallish whole potatoes cooked in a cream sauce

All good.

BillG said...

We're probably missing the bluebonnets this year as we won't be in Austin until May. Must try these potatoes, they sound delish.

Erin said...

Apparently, my brother rented you the bluebonnet-seeking car this trip! He called to tell me and I responded with appropriate fangirl squees.

We grew up just south of Sherman (Van Alstyne), and I stumbled onto your blog a few years ago when I was looking for information online about the Tiffin Shop. I'm now a homesick Texan myself (living in Maine) and a dedicated reader, and I have a great time cooking recipes from your blog for my Mainer in-laws. :)

I miss the bluebonnets, too...there's nothing quite like them!

Barbara said...

hmmm ... why oh why am i trying somewhat successfully to take a few & more pounds off? for this and other culinary reasons ahead of me when i take off from my nor cal home south towards & east thru arizona, new mexico and into texas. big vistas, big skies, big hearts. gotta love the west. he-who-doesn't simply needs leave the room for us. have posted before but routed thru my husband's gmail account and been responded to in his name (michael) but truly do not mind one iota! again, i cannot tell you how i am glad i tripped on your blog months ago when trying to find a recipe. i found one and much more. thank you, 'homesick texan'
lisa and those-who-comment for all shared! i'm tasting and seeing texas ... & so glad to be heading 'home' once again (pretending it's not just a visit) may i possibly find some bluebonnets in the stretched out miles! b

Allison said...

This looks so good. I was just thinking about making scalloped potatoes for Easter and then I saw this post. I think it's fate!

Foodiebia said...

Yum! I am definitely going to make this sometime b/c I love your chipotle mac and cheese so much (I've made it three times). I'm not a blue cheese kind of gal, so I'll probably use cheddar.

Linsey M. said...

Oh holy cow. You had me at Chipotle and Bacon. These look AMAZING!

Kristen in Alaska said...

Wow. I made this for dinner tonight and, well, wow! Creamy, spicy, earthy, and bacony. It's really pretty simple, and so yummy. Looks like it'll make a perfect side dish for Easter dinner.

I did double the garlic, but left everything else as written. As much as I like heat, I'm glad I kept the chipotles to one.

P.S. I scored loads of points with my roommate with these potatoes. That's easy money :-) This dish is highly recommended,

Lea Ann said...

I swear I bookmark every recipe you post! These potatoes sounds wonderful. I did make your hominy casserole a couple of weeks ago...ohmygosh! Fabulous combination of flavors and textures.

Mother Rimmy said...

It would never have occurred to me to combine blue cheese and chipotle, but it sounds incredible.

Kristi

mark.a.jeffcoat said...

Made this today. Amazing flavor. Great recipe.

Renee said...

I could seriously love this recipe. My favorite ingredients! I think if you put blue cheese on or in anything, it makes it the bomb.
Just returned about an hour ago from Fredericksburg. Flowers were a no show, but had a fun time with good friends. The wineries were fun and hoppin'. Guess I should have gone to Ennis--maybe there's still time!

Donna said...

Wow--you're right--sounds perfect for Easter dinner. I've got a daughter in Austin but never seem to make it there at the right time for bluebonnets. But we've got bluebells here in Virginia--particularly beautiful along the Potomac River at Great Falls National Park.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Muffin Tin--Good to know! Thanks!

BillG--I think you'd like them!

Erin--Your brother was so sweet, he totally made my day! And my family has a farm outside Van Alstyne in a little community called Sedalia. Small world!

Barbara--I've made that drive before, and it's exquisite. Thank you for reading!

Allison--It is fate!

Foodiebia--I think it would be just as good with cheddar!

Linsey--You can never go wrong with chipotle and bacon!

Kristen--I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it!

Lea Ann--Oh! I haven't made my hominy casserole in a while--thank you for reminding me how good it is!

Mother Rimmy--I'm convinced you can combine chipotle with just about anything!

Mark A Jeffcoat--Hurrah! Glad y'all liked it!

Renee--I think the flowers should still be in bloom. It's a pretty drive!

Donna--That does sound beautiful!

New Southern Pantry said...

I was born in Ennis in July of 1959I remember those fields growing up,my grandparents were farmers and would have them in all the fields before planting. Sweet & precious memories, I saved your Bluebonnet photo just to print out and put on my bulletin board in my office. Thanks so much for sharing!
Sheila
http://www.newsouthernpantry.com

Leaving Austin said...

This recipe looks awesome. It's gonna find room on my Easter table!
So glad to have found you!

I'm another homesick Texan, and loved seeing the bluebonnets.

maxine said...

I can't believe no one has asked the name of the cafe...please miss...

Kim said...

OK...followed your blog for a while now and stumbled across interesting response you made 3 years ago...so I have to ask...
What family is from Sedalia?
My grandparents lived in Cannon...so I grew up attending old Sedalia Church (was the old school at one time).

Love your recipes!
Kim Weber
webervana@aol.com
(not succombed to blogging yet.)

Susan said...

Some how or another chili makes everything taste better :)

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I have no words for this one. Just drool.

kimt said...

Well, they won't be around much longer if Texas doesn't stop burning. 1.5 million acres in the past 2 weeks. I'm in Odessa and we could see and smell the smoke from the Ft Davis fire. Plus having a few of our own. 252 counties out of 254 have had fires.

Shannon said...

I'm so glad you were able to see the flowers before Mother Nature took them back and everything burned. A bit hyperbolic, but if you'd been in Texas this last two weeks it wouldn't seem to be so. :(

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

New Southern Pantry--What a wonderful memory! Hope the photo brings you much joy.

Leaving Austin--It's nice to meet you! Hope you enjoy the potatoes.

Maxine--Uptown Cafe in Italy, Texas.

Kim--My family are the Jernigans. Do you know them? They don't live there anymore but we still own the house and the farm.

Susan--Indeed it does!

Miss Meat and Potatoes--Drool is good!

Kimt--I know--such heartbreaking news.

Shannon--It's not hyperbolic--I've seen the photos and it's devastating.

Foodiebia said...

You say twice in the recipe to top with the remaining blue cheese. Could you clarify how much blue cheese we are supposed to add in the steps? Thanks! (I'm using all cheddar anyway, but I am trying to figure out how much to add with each step.)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Foodiebia--I updated the recipe to reflect the amounts of cheese per step. Hope that makes things more clear!

gina said...

And with so little rain.....

Bee said...

There were some good bluebonnets around Chappell Hill, but they bloomed early and didn't last long. Ennis? I never knew.

This sounds heavenly,albeit a massive calorie splurge. I love some scalloped potatoes with my Easter ham and I've never settled down with the perfect recipe.

MaryB said...

Ennis has hosted a Bluebonnet Festival every year for the last 25+ years. They have maps of country drives to take and an artsy booth festival downtown. They also host the National Polka Festival on the last weekend in May and the Firehouse Grill restaurant dedicated to firemen and policemen. It's a nice place to visit. Bring a badge, hat or any memorabilia to Firehouse and they will honor it on their walls.
Thank you, Lisa, for the kind words!!

Brett said...

This sounds amazing -- love the blog.

Lee said...

What a fantastic recipe - I've wanted to try this for a couple of months since I first found it, and I've made it twice. It is truly sensational. I thought I might post a couple of comments/observations about it:
1. I think there's an ambiguity in the recipe - it calls for 4 ounces of blue cheese but then seems to use 8 ounces throughout the recipe. I use 4 total, with 2 oz added to the sauce, 1 oz sprinkled on the first layer, and 1 oz sprinkled on the second layer.
2. The total of 1 hour of cooking time is the absolute minimum - if you really want creamy potatoes, extend each segment of the cooking time by 5 minutes for a total cooking time of 70 minutes.
3. The recipe doesn't mention it, but the dish needs to rest after cooking - about 15 minutes is ideal.
4. I don't have a solution to this problem, but the sauce has an unappealing appearance after cooking - slightly granular, although the mouth texture is smooth. If anyone out there has a way to fix this, I'd love to hear it.
Lisa, this one is a showstopper: great taste, perfect with beef or ham, a lovely variation that no one is likely to have had, simple preparation, and when that thing comes out of the oven, the beautiful appearance of the browned sauce in the black cast iron with give your diners' hearts flip-flops. I'll be making this one again!
Thanks,
Dan

Rachel said...

I too am a HT and can't wait to make this! I had a question about the blue cheese though. It seems to use a total of 8 oz in the instructions, but indicates only 4 oz in the list of ingredients. Is it a total of 4 or 8? Also, my store (not in Texas) only had one size can of chipotle peppers - 11 oz. Is this too big? I am also going to make the cauliflower mac & cheese, do you think it is safe to put these two dishes together the night before (without baking) and then throw in the oven the day of serving?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rachel--My mistake! Only four are necessary. Two in the blender and then the remaining two sprinkled. I'll fix the recipe. As for the chipotle chiles, the recipe calls for 1 canned chipotle chile, not 1 WHOLE can!! So, only 1 chile is needed, you can store the rest of the can in the refrigerator. I think the mac and cheese would get kind of soggy and the pasta would get sticky, so I wouldn't do that. The uncooked potatoes could oxidize and turn brown so I wouldn't do it with that dish either. They do reheat well, if you wanted to bake them and then reheat them.

Rachel said...

Whew! I m glad I asked :-) One more question, when does the cheddar come in to play? In the layering or in the blender?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rachel--It's in the last step. You sprinkle it on top of the potatoes along with the bacon.

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