To make the mashed potato casserole, you will need:
Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 1-inch cubes
Put the cubed potatoes in a large pot, and cover them by about 2 inches with cold water. Boil the potatoes for 30-40 minutes, until they're cooked through.
Meanwhile: Grate the cheese, cut the bacon crosswise into slices about 1/2-inch thick, and slice the chives.
Cut the stick of butter into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the bacon, and cook until it's crispy and most of the fat has rendered out, 5-7 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350°F while the potatoes finish cooking. They're done when you can mash them easily with the back of a fork.
When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander.
Be sure to let all the water drain out.
Transfer the drained potatoes back to the pot you cooked them in.
Add the cubed butter, sour cream, a tablespoon of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Mash everything together.
Before you add the bacon and chives, set aside two tablespoons of bacon and two teaspoons sliced chives to sprinkle on top later on.
When the potatoes are sufficiently mashed (some lumps are fine), add the bulk of the chives and bacon and half of the grated cheese. Mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined.
Grease a large (9 x 13-inch, preferably) baking dish , and spread the mashed potatoes into the dish.
Sprinkle the remaning cheese on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is totally melted.
Garnish with the remaining chives and bacon, and serve!
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
5 lbs russet potatoes
8 ounces cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut in 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the baking dish
8 ounces sour cream
½ pound bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch chives, sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into roughly 1-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a large pot and cover them by about 2 inches with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and continue to boil until the potatoes are fork tender (the potatoes should mash easily when you press one of them with the back of a fork), 30-40 minutes.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter.
3. Grate your cheddar cheese with a cheese Microplane or box grater, then divided your grated cheese in half. Half will get mixed into the mashed potatoes, the other half will go on top of the casserole.
4. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until most of the fat has rendered out and it's starting to crisp, 7-10 minutes. When the bacon is cooked transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate, to drain any excess grease.
5. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove the pot from the heat, drain the potatoes into a colander, then put the drained potatoes back into the empty pot. Add the butter, sour cream, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Mash your potatoes with a potato masher or large wooden spoon. It's OK if there are still a few chunks, as long as everything is combined and the butter is completely melted.
6. Set aside about two tablespoons of bacon and two teaspoons of sliced chives for garnish, then add the rest of the bacon and chives to the mashed potatoes along with half of the grated cheese. Mix with a wooden spoon just until everything is combined.
7. Spread the mashed potatoes into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are piping hot.
8. To serve, garnish with the remaining chives and bacon.
If you’re bringing this mashed potato casserole to a potluck (like we suggest in our Friendsgiving menu), here’s what to do:
Before you go to the potluck, cook and mash your potatoes according to the recipe above, and mix in the bacon and chives (still reserving the designated amount for garnish, in a small airtight container in the fridge) and half of the cheddar cheese. Spread the potato mixture into a greased baking dish, but stop the recipe there; do not top with the remaining half of the grated cheese. Keep the cheese, extra chives, and extra bacon separate ziplock baggies in the fridge. Cover the potatoes in the baking dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate until the potluck.
Right before you head to the potluck, let the mashed potato casserole sit out at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, still covered with aluminum foil. (Let the chives and bacon sit out at room temperature as well (you don't want them chilled). At the potluck, remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top. Reheat the potatoes, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until it's hot in the center and the cheese is melted. Right before serving, garnish with the bacon and chives.
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