Excellent Potato, Onion, Bacon and Cheese Thing

At risk of turning into Sir Nigel Slater, I ask you of you this: is there any combination of onions, bacon, potatoes and cheese that doesn’t taste good together?

The best, most obvious amalgamation of the above is the outrageously rich dish of tartiflette, which contains so much cheese that it’s actually illegal for lactose intolerant people to so much as look at it. They have to wear special tartiflette blinkers when in the alps, so they don’t accidentally catch a glimpse of cheese-pull which will automatically overstimulate their GI tracts. It’s that potent.

On the opposing side of the coin, the worst thing to do with cheese, potato, bacon and onions would be to make a savoury sorbet. But even then, some Michelin starred chef has probably already done that, served it with a parsley foam, and got away with it scot free.

Anyway, you shouldn’t make a savoury sorbet with cheese, onions, bacon and potatoes. You should instead make this nameless dish, which probably would be classed as a tartiflette if I could afford reblochon. It does involve an optional béchamel to make up for a lack of said expensive cheese, but you can just add more more dairy products like Philadelphia (other cream cheese brands are available) or extra mozzarella, if you can’t be bothered to go to the effort of concocting a roux. And yes, you could start and finish it on the stove, but thwacking everything into a hot oven to go all scronchy and undulating and gooey on top is definitely the way forward here.

After a weekend of launching myself up mountains, then being treated like a sock in a washing machine by some gnarly waves on my new bodyboard, this bubbling potato, bacon, onion and cheese thing really hit the spot on Sunday night. You don’t need nearly that sort of excuse though. You just need some humble ingredients and a pan that likes both ovens and hobs.

Nameless Bubbling Cheesy Potato Thing

Seeing as I’ve mentioned Sir Nigel, you’re not getting an ingredient list. Instead, this recipe organically written, seasonal and comes wrapped in loose folds of waxed parchment paper, just like me.

Serves 3-4

Chop 6 small floury potatoes (around 600g) into inch by inch cubes. Don’t bother peeling them. Pop them in a microwavable bowl with a sprinkle of salt and splash of water in the bottom and put a plate or some clingfilm on top. Microwave* for 9-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice two small onions into thin half moons and sweat them slowly in a significant quantity of butter for around 5 minutes, lid on and stirring now and again. Add in 6 thick-cut rashers of smoked bacon, roughly chopped, and fry – lid off – with the onions until the bacon is slightly crisped and the onions are gorgeously soft and turning golden brown. You may want to add a splash of water if things are sticking, or white wine if you self-identify as a gigachad. Keep everything on low from here on.

Your potatoes should have been sitting in the microwave, done, for a good few minutes now. Check whether they’re cooked though – you want them to fall off a knife when stabbed. Put them in for 3 mins longer if they need a little more. When they’re suitably cooked through, drain them and pop them in the pan with your bacons and onions, stirring so they get coated in all the salt and butter and goodness. Turn off the ring under this pan, and put the oven on to 200 fan.

Here, you can either make a quick béchamel (mix 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of flour in a small pan for 3 minutes over a medium heat, then add 400ml of milk slowly while whisking; when thickened and smooth, add a grating of fresh nutmeg and 50g of grated cheddar or a big-toe sized chunk of grated parmesan/Italian hard cheese and stir until melted). Pour this over the bacon, onion and potato mengsel – or you can simply dot a 250g packet of cream cheese around everything and call it a day without dirtying another pan.

Next, you’ll want to grate over enough meltable cheese. You get to decide what enough cheese looks like, because I’m being Sir Nigel Slater, not yer mam. If it helps, however, I used a handful of smoked cheddar, two handfuls of normal cheddar, a ball of mozz and a thin shaving of parmesan because it’s no secret that I like cheese. Happily, I don’t have to wear the tartiflette blinkers.

Bake this utter delight in the oven for as long as it takes for it to ooze and bubble – around 15-20 minutes) and then remove it and serve without a salad or vegetables because you live with a Scottish man.

Voila. Thanks Nige.

*if you’re middle class enough not to own a microwave, then you can achieve the same effect by launching your potato into outer space, or par-boiling them in lots of salted water.

One thought on “Excellent Potato, Onion, Bacon and Cheese Thing

  1. Oh yeah baby!!! …..but font shoot the messenger…..I cannot tell a lie🥹….he’s putting mushrooms in …..run for the hills !! (;o great taste as aways Fliss 👏👏👏👏


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