Potatoes au Gratin — Dutch Oven Style
By themselves, potatoes are a “superfood” — high in anti-oxidants and fiber while being low in cholesterol. But potatoes taste starchy and bland when served all alone. Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin marries russet potatoes with the rich flavor of applewood smoked bacon, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese. If I’m honest, I love eating my baked potatoes “fully loaded” with bacon, and cheese; Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin indulges my guilty pleasure.
The star of Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin is the russet potato — the most popular fall crop potato. We use russet potatoes because they are harvested late in the growing season which means the skin of the potato is thicker and more of the sugar in the potato has converted to starch. As a result, starchy potatoes, like the russet, are best for baking, frying, or mashing. You can use other types of potatoes in this recipe such as the Yukon Gold; however, we recommend avoiding “new crop” potatoes like Red potatoes because they have less starch.
Like movie stars that need a cast of supporting characters; Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin is no different. We partnered our russets with 365 Brand Applewood Smoked bacon from Whole Foods to give the dish a bit of crunch as well as rich and smokey flavor. Add in Jack and Cheddar cheeses and enjoy the creamy goodness!
Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin Ingredients:
2 lbs. (907 grams) Applewood Smoked bacon
2 lbs. (907 grams) Shredded medium sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese
5 russet potatoes, sliced thinly
1/4 of a large red onion sliced (julienne)
12 inch Dutch Oven (6 quart)
Dutch Oven Potatoes au Gratin Instructions:
Cook two lbs. applewood smoked bacon in the bottom of the dutch oven until the bacon is crispy. Reserve the bacon fat for later use. You’ll find the bacon will cook down significantly and that’s expected.
Add a layer of bacon on the bottom of the dutch oven but don’t add too much bacon to the bottom layer because you’ll need it for additional layers of bacon, potatoes, and cheese.
Completely cover the bacon on the bottom of the dutch oven with a layer of potatoes.
Add a layer of shredded cheese on top of the potatoes. Continue by adding more layers of bacon, potatoes, and cheese. Add the sliced onion on top of the mixture and cover with cheese. We added the onion to the top layer because the color of the red onions provides a nice contrast to the cheese and potatoes.
Salt and pepper to taste and pour the reserved bacon fat on top of the potatoes. It’s worth noting that adding bacon fat is completely optional. The bacon fat provides additional flavor to the dish; however, this might be over the top depending on your health.
Bake for about 60 minutes with a total of 25 coals (17 top, 8 bottom). Arrange the coals on the top of the oven in circular pattern on the outside of the oven — about 12 coals. Place the remaining 5 coals on the top of the oven in the middle of the lid. You can see how I arrange the coals by watching a short YouTube video (9:16 minutes) that shows how we made this dish.
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