The thing about mashed potatoes that is super-challenging to me is that they are the most delicious food on earth as-is. It’s hard to even imagine an improvement on really creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes.
But I had an idea and I ran with it and it ended up being really good. My idea kicked up the normal mashed potatoes a bit by baking them under a layer of thinly sliced potatoes, potatoes like you would use for an au gratin. The results is a crispy layer of potatoes on top and the same delicious garlicky ones inside!
Oh. And I couldn’t resist adding a layer of bacon and cheese because why not right?
1) Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Boil potatoes in salted water for 10-12 minutes until very tender and then drain them.
2) Add garlic, butter, milk, and salt and pepper to potatoes and mash or beat with a hand mixer until you have the desired creaminess that you like. Feel free to add more milk if it looks too dry.
3) While your potatoes cook, lay a few strips of thick bacon on a rack over a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the bacon is super-crispy. Let it cool and crumble it.
4) Butter your casserole dish and add mashed potatoes. Top with a drizzle of cream and shredded cheese. Then add crumbled bacon.
5) Use your mandoline or a very steady hand, to slice a peeled potato very thin.
6) Add thin potato slices to top of casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil.
7) Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then set under the broiler for a few minutes until potatoes are nice and browned.
8) Let cool for a few minutes and serve immediately!
Starting the Mashed Potatoes
I made my standard mashed potato recipe for the base of this dish which is basically one clove of garlic per potato and a pretty good dose of butter and milk.
I had a small dilemma though which I’m sure you’ll also encounter at some point which is that I had no idea how many potatoes to make for the dish I was putting the potatoes in.
It turns out that if you peel the potatoes and just pile them in the dish, it’s roughly the right number. After expanding and all the add-ins, six potatoes filled my dish very nicely.
To make the mashed potatoes, just cut the potatoes into even 1 inch cubes and boil them in salted water for about 10-15 minutes until they are very tender. Then drain off the water, add in the milk, butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and chopped garlic and mash them up!
If you want them super-creamy you can beat them with a hand mixer. I just mashed mine with a masher though.
You’ll probably want to adjust the amount of milk you use. Don’t worry about adding too much. It’s almost impossible unless you just let the kids pour it in until the bowl is full.
Also, since it’s Thanksgiving, play around with other fresh herbs if you have extra. This would be excellent with some fresh thyme mixed in with the potatoes.
Putting together the casserole
While your potatoes are cooking, you’ll want to make some really crispy bacon. This is an optional step but it gives the final dish a good salty flavor and great texture.
In my opinion, the only way to make perfectly crispy bacon is to bake it in the oven on a rack. After about 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees you’ll have some of the crispiest and best bacon you’ve ever had. Guaranteed.
Next, take your casserole dish and rub it down with a bit of butter. Make sure you get all the corners and everything. As a rule, I always butter my dishes when making casseroles like this so they don’t stick around the edges.
Then pile in your mashed potatoes, drizzle a little cream over the potatoes, and top with a good layer of cheese. No need to go crazy on it though. The cream will just make everything really moist when it bakes.
Then add some crumbled bacon.
The Potato Topping
OK. So this is the step that I wasn’t sure about. My idea was that a layer of potatoes on top would crisp up nicely but also keep a lot of the moisture from the potatoes from escaping.
But you need pretty thin potatoes. Enter the handy mandoline. If you don’t have one, the one I linked to is the model I’ve been using for almost a year now and it’s really easy to use and also extremely dangerous. Be sure to use the guard if you use one.
Because you don’t need a bunch of potatoes for this (one potato sliced thin is enough), you can also just slice with a knife if you have a steady, even hand.
The mandoline makes quick work of this job though.
Then just arrange them decoratively on the dish and drizzle the whole thing with a bit of olive oil.
I baked this at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes and then turned on the broiler for just a few minutes near the end to really crispy up the potatoes on top.
Let it cool for a few minutes and then dig in!
This would be a fantastic side dish and the presentation is really nice I think.
I see no reason in the world why you couldn’t serve this next to some stuffing and drowned everything in gravy!
Just like most mashed potatoes, this dish keeps perfectly. I’ve been snacking on this version for almost a week now. If you microwave it, just add a bit of milk to it and it’ll end up being nice and creamy.
What do you think? Acceptable Thanksgiving side or too out there?