First we told you to ditch your mashed potatoes for parsnip puree, now, thanks to Rebecca Torpie at Wedge+Fig, we suggest that if you must have potatoes at your Thanksgiving table, that they be filled with local blue cheese and bacon!
These delicious individual gratins are a great update to the traditional version. Chef Torpie suggests using Birchrun Hills Farm’s Birchrun Blue alongside Glenn Brindle’s famous bacon; both are available at the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market.
Bacon & Blue Gratin
Yields 4, 4.5″ Individual Ramekins
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus one tablespoon, reserved
1 Cup unseasoned bread crumbs
6 Slices Glenn’s Bacon
Handful of chives or parsley
1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 Cups half & half
Pinch of ground nutmeg
8 oz Birchrun Blue cheese
2.5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
Salt & white pepper to taste
Additional Melted butter for ramekins
Rimmed sheet pan
Preheat Oven to 325.
Brush insides of ramekins with melted butter.
Chef’s Tip: Use non-stick spray or more melted butter to brush outsides of ramekins. This will make cleaning up the bubbled over half & half come off the sides of the ramekins more easily!
Slice potatoes to 1/8″ thickness – A mandolin works great for this. No need to peel the potatoes. The skins are so thin you won’t even notice them.
Bake bacon on a sheetpan in oven until very well cooked and crispy, flipping half way through, about 20 minutes total. Move bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool. Crumble into small pieces and set aside.
While bacon cools, finely chop chives. Melt butter stick of butter and add it to the bread crumbs. Stir in 1/3 of the bacon bits and all of the chives.
Whisk together half & half, Dijon mustard, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the cheese into 12 pieces. Layer the bottom of each ramekin with several potato slices. Sprinkle with some bacon and add a piece of cheese. Layer again and repeat so that there are 3 layers of cheese, bacon and potatoes per ramekin, finishing with remaining potato slices. The potato layers should be piled above the lip of the ramekin.
Carefully pour half & half mixture into ramekins until half an inch from the top. Dot the tops of the ramekins with reserved tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle on bread crumb mixture. Bake for 45 minutes on a sheet pan until crispy and brown. Let cool slightly before serving.