Potato casseroles have fallen out of style for many reasons, chief among them being increased calorie count and the added expense of extra ingredients when a good side dish can be made with considerably less such as mashed or roasted or baked potatoes. This dish, however, throws calorie counting and economics to the wayside in favor of a decadent and flavorful dish that will please even the hungriest of diners.
This is a Southwest inspired potato bake, but without much of any spice content. You could surely add a bit of cayenne pepper, but it’s preferable to avoid spicy BBQ sauces in favor of sweet and smoky ones that will pair well with the bacon. I like KC Masterpiece myself, their BBQ sauces tend to contain more tomato paste, molasses, and flavorings than corn syrup – the main ingredient in most generic BBQ sauce. This gives them a more intense and bold flavor that will really work to add sweetness and tang to this dish.
Here’s what you’ll need for my Monterrey potato bake:
- 2 lb frozen potatoes O’Brien, set out to thaw for a few hours
- 1 cups sour cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar and monterrey jack cheese with some extra to go on top
- 2/3 cup barbecue sauce, with some extra reserved in a squirt bottle to go on top
- 2/3 cup bacon bits or chopped bacon
- butter to coat the baking dish
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp parsley flakes
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the milk in a good sized saucepan. Butter a 9X13 baking dish. In the sauce pan, whisk in the sour cream, barbecue sauce, parsley, and black pepper.
- Add the cheese little by little, whisking constantly until it’s all in. Remove about a cup of the mixture to a small bowl and whisk in the eggs one at a time to temper them so they don’t scramble.
- Add the tempered egg mixture back to the sauce mixture. In a separate bowl, toss the potatoes and bacon bits.
- Pour the heated sauce over top and then fold until all of the potatoes are well coated. Pour into the baking pan and top with the extra cheese, just enough to add a good sprinkle overtop, and breadcrumbs.
- Finally, take the squirt bottle of barbecue sauce and drizzle diagonal lines of barbecue sauce over the top of the casserole. These will brown up in the oven and add a really beautiful touch to the final product, making it look almost like a cake.
- Wrap foil over the top and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool and set for at least 10 minutes before cutting into blocks and serving.