Jalapeño Popper Mashed Potato Bake
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Mins
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
There are side dishes, and then there are side dishes that steal the show—these jalapeño popper inspired mashed potatoes most definitely fall into the second category. Made with a jalapeño infused cream (this step is both easy and essential), the mashed potatoes are imbued with a robust peppery warmth. This lingering heat is tempered by plenty of sour cream and sharp cheddar, which deliver the rich tang you’d expect from a popper dip. Finished with a buttery cracker and bacon topping, this Jalapeño Popper Mashed Potato Bake will be the dish nobody can stop talking about.
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 to 3jalapeño chiles, halved
- 1garlic head, halved
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into 1/2-in.-thick slices (12 cups)
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked and crumbled bacon (about 14 slices), divided
- 15round buttery crackers (such as Ritz), crushed (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring half-and-half, jalapeños, and garlic to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low. Remove from heat, and let steep 15 minutes. Strain jalapeño cream through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on jalapeños and garlic; discard solids.
While jalapeño cream steeps, place potatoes in a large pot, and add cold water to cover by 1 inch; lightly salt. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well in a colander. While still very hot, pass potatoes through a ricer into pot (a potato masher or food mill will also work). Fold in jalapeño cream, sour cream, softened butter, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt until blended. Stir in Cheddar, pepper Jack, and 1 cup of the cooked bacon. Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Toss together crackers, melted butter, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; sprinkle over top of potatoes. Bake in preheated oven until heated through and top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup bacon.
Though even the more heat sensitive palettes in our test kitchen did not find this mashed potato bake to be overtly spicy, if you are at all concerned about the heat level, feel free to lose one jalapeño from the recipe.
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