Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Super comforting potato bake

Warning! Don't let the broccoli in this dish fool you. It's rich, indulgent, packed with goodness (cheese! potatoes!) - perfect comfort food. I don't make it often because my thighs cry at the mere thought of the calorific value of this beauty. But every now and then conditions are perfect to make this bake. It's cold and salad just won't cut it. It's gloomy, dark and grey outside, pavements covered with slimy leaves. You just need a big hug. This bake is IT. It's easy to make, but a tad time consuming, so wait until the weekend to make it. 

To make enough for 4 (or 2 gluttons in need of a BIG hug) you'll need:

2 white potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
1 sweet potato
1 onion
4 rashers streaky bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
1 small broccoli
200 g cheddar cheese
about 200 ml cream (I would normally use single, but my local shop only had double - double the calories, gulp!)
a few rosemary leaves, chopped (optional)
dried basil/oregano/Italian herb mix
olive oil
salt and pepper

Start off by chopping the onion, garlic and bacon.

Fry them in the pan until bacon is crisped up and the onions translucent. Take off the heat and put aside.

Cut broccoli into little florets and boil in salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Get the potatoes ready - wash them and peel the sweet potato. You can leave white potatoes unpeeled. Now slice them all very thinly - the easiest way to do it is by using a mandoline (watch these fingers!)  but if you don't have one you can slice them up with a knife (it will take a bit longer). Grate the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Now get a small heatproof dish and pour a tiny bit of oil on the bottom. Place the first layer of white and sweet potato slices, sprinkle with pepper, basil and chopped oregano (I tend not to use salt as bacon is already quite salty).

Spread half of the bacon and onion mix on top of the potatoes and follow by another layer of potatoes.

Spread the rest of the bacon mix and add another layer of potatoes, followed by drained broccoli.

Add the final layer of potatoes and sprinkle cheese on top.

Now pour cream all over in a thin stream; take your time - you want the cream to go through all the layers of potato.

Bake in the oven for 40-60 minutes until potatoes are soft. The easiest way to check whether the bake is ready is to poke it with a fork.

Slice up and eat! And maybe, just maybe plan to go to the gym the next day. It's all about balance, people :)

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