Maple Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Fall is the time of year when maple-bacon flavors start turning up in the odd niches where pumpkin spice has already been and gone. In this case, I’ve run across a recipe that takes an old favorite and gives it a sweet-n-savoury twist.

MAPLE BACON MASHED POTATOES
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
2-1/2 lbs gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp maple syrup
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, reserve some for topping
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped chives for garnish

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until a fork will easily slip into the center of a chunk of potato. This should be about 15-20 minutes.

Heat the milk, cream and butter in small saucepan over a low heat until the butter melts. Stir in the maple syrup. This may be done while the potatoes are cooking.

Drain your potatoes and return them to the pot. Using a potato masher or electric hand mixer, slowly stir in the milk mixture until potatoes are smooth and creamy.

Fold in chopped bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you are not serving int he mixing bowl, turn the mashed potatoes out into a serving dish. Top with remaining chopped bacon and sprinkle with chives.

Serve hot. Refridgerate any leftovers.

 

NOTE: Potatoes, like pasta, prefer to go into boiling water rather than to be started cold. Starting your potatoes in cold water will allow the outer layers to cook more rapidly than the interior, allowing the out layers to actually cook off the chunks. While this is a great method for reducing potatoes for potato┬ásoup, it’s not so great for mashed potatoes.

 

I can smell this just typing about it. It sounds like a wonderful take on sweet and savoury, just in time for your holiday gatherings.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

 

Crock Pot Sides

There are an amazing number of side dishes that can be cooked in a crock pot or other slow cooker. I bet you didn’t know that mac-n-cheese and even dinner rolls can be prepared in a slow cooker rather than in a conventional oven. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

These recipes are written more like concepts than with the usual ingredients list due to the many variations that are available for each.

MAC AND CHEESE
Slow cooked mac and cheese is creamier than baked, so make sure to have some nice crusty bread on hand to bring it all together. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of milk, 12 ounces of evaporated milk, 1/4 cup of melted and cooled butter, three eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour into a buttered crock pot. Add three cups of shredded cheese and 1/2 pound of macaroni. Stir gently to combine and cook on high for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for three more hours.

DINNER ROLLS
Cooking dinner rolls in a slow cooker creates bread that is warm and soft with a steamed bun texture. Take any yeast bread dough and cut into small roll-sized pieces. Put them in a buttered crock pot and let them rise for an hour. Cook the rolls on high for 60 to 90 minutes until they’re no longer sticky. Serve warm, and moan because they’re so delicious.

GERMAN “FRIED” POTATOES
My mother used to do this dish in a cast iron skillet, first on the stove top and finishing in the oven. In experimenting with crock pot cooking, I have discovered that these potatoes can be easily set up and cooked without constantly being watched. Spray or spread a little olive oil in the bottom and lower sides of your crock pot. Add sliced potatoes (skin on is more traditional), thinly sliced raw onion, minced garlic and a bit of salt and pepper to taste in layers to fill the crock pot about half way. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with a spot of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives on top.

POTATOES AU GRATIN
Everyone loves cheesy potatoes, right? As with the potato dish above, spray olive oil to coat the bottom and lower sides of your crock pot. Layer sliced potatoes (skin on or off as you prefer), grated cheese (cheddar, Gouda, or another firm cheese is recommended), and a little minced garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste on each layer if you like. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with a spot of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives on top or just add more grated cheese.

Give these side dishes a try and let us know how you enjoyed them. See if you don’t agree that the crock pot method is a time-saving twist on these home-made favorites.

–Ann Cathey