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Comfort food: Potato casseroles

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Warm up with fall casseroles

Fall is the perfect time for hearty and flavorful potato dishes. Go beyond the soothing mashed potatoes and steamy baked potatoes, and serve your family these soul-satisfying potato casseroles.

Potato CasseroleChoose the right potatoes

When making potato-based casseroles that call for sliced or diced potatoes, waxy potatoes like new potatoes, red bliss potatoes, or yellow potatoes are typically your best bet. However, if your potato casserole recipe calls for mashed potatoes, choose baking potatoes, such as Russets.

Waxy potato or baking potato?

You can tell the difference between waxy and baking potatoes by their skin. Baking potatoes have a thick rough skin while waxy ones have a thinner smoother skin. The waxier versions will hold their shape better in a casserole compared to baking potatoes. Waxy potatoes also have less starch then their baking counterparts. Medium starch potatoes such as Yukon Gold are "all purpose" and will usually work in all casseroles.

Prepare the potatoes

Regardless of the potatoes you choose, be sure to wash and scrub them before use. Even though most casserole recipes require that you peel the potatoes, washing them beforehand will ensure all grit and bacteria are removed. Also, leaving the skin on can end up causing the potatoes to be tough.

Potato casserole recipes

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Casserole

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cups milk
1-1/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
12 large new potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
1 pound cooked bacon, chopped
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat butter in a medium pot until melted. Whisk in flour, onion powder, salt and pepper. Then whisk in milk. Continue whisking until thickened. Stir blue cheese into mixture and stir until cheese has melted and combined.

3. Meanwhile, place potatoes in layers in prepared casserole dish. Top with bacon and broccoli then pour cheese sauce overtop.

4. Cover casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove casserole and uncover. Sprinkle breadcrumbs overtop then bake another 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Three Cheese Mashed Potato Casserole

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup creme fraiche
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese plus more for sprinkling
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and coat a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook potatoes in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain.

3. Blend potatoes with creme fraiche, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Mix in milk, cheeses (minus a 1/4 cup blend of the three cheeses), and salt and pepper.

4. Spoon mixture into a cooking spray coated casserole dish and top with the reserved 1/4 cup of the three cheeses.

5. Bake casserole for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted on top and potatoes are heated.

Brown Sugar Potato Casserole

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
2 pounds red bliss potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook potatoes in boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender, then drain.

3. Whisk half and half with vanilla, salt, and egg until combined. Pour mixture over potatoes and beat until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into prepared casserole dish.

4. Combine flour with sugar and oats and mix in chilled butter with two knives or a pastry cutter until a coarse meal is formed. Stir in walnuts then sprinkle mixture over potatoes.

5. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until fully heated and topping is crisp.

Even more soul-satisfying potato recipes

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