"What would your death row meal be?" is the most popular question I'm asked, just ahead of "DOEs HE SInG 2 U????"
I love this question because 1.) the asker assumes I will one day be on death row, so they get me and 2.) it's the easiest question on the planet — it is this dish. This creamy creation, which my mom has been making my entire life, puts me into a state of instant euphoria and you can't go a single bite without a bacon or ham bomb.
I was notorious for sneaking undercooked scoops from the edges of the pan, not being able to control these potato-y desires of mine. By the time mom removed it from the oven, the edges were completely gone, leaving behind just a giant dollop of potato, balancing in the middle of the casserole dish.
And my god, the leftovers. I should add Tupperware to the list of ingredients because I can't tell you how many times I've put a few servings of this in my purse for a flight. If you make one thing in this book, make this, I beg you.
- 5 pounds russet (Idaho) potatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄3 pounds ham, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 8 slices bacon (not thick-cut), cut into squares
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 1⁄2 cups whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Peel the potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and slice them crosswise into thin half moons. Rinse well with cold water and drain in a colander. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and toss them with the onion and the ham.
- In a large dutch oven, cook half the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, 9-10 minutes. Add the butter and cook, stirring, until melted, making sure the butter doesn’t burn. Add the garlic salt and pepper, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring to work out the lumps, until smooth. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl.
- Arrange half the potato mixture in the bottom of the dutch oven, then cover it with half the sauce. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and sauce. Arrange the uncooked bacon squares on top of the sauce and bake, uncovered, until the bacon appears crispy and rendered, 30-35 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, cover with the lid, and cook until bubbling, 1 hour 30 minutes longer.
- Side Dishes, Potato
- North American
- 16-20 servings
- Total Time
- 3 hours