Friday, September 5, 2008

Warning...Not Figure Friendly Funeral Potatoes

I was going to post this yesterday, but I got a little sidetracked. There was a bit of a distraction at my house yesterday...a good one, but nevertheless, a distraction.

By the time he left I was exhausted and decided I would wait until today to post. But it was so worth the exhaustion! Anyway, on to the dish.

My mother-in-law, bless her heart, was not an imaginative cook. But she did have a few dishes that were wonderful and just plain comforting. Following is one of them. I remember having this dish at her home early in my marriage and immediately demanded the recipe and have been making it ever since. Since then I have run across recipes that are somewhat more convenient, but they just don't taste the same. I'll elaborate as I go.

My MIL called this recipe simply "Sour Cream Potatoes", but we renamed it "Funeral Potatoes" simply because it's the type of dish you find at a funeral. See...comforting.

The Ingredients
5 or 6 baked russet potatoes
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup butter
1 pint sour cream

1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (more if you like it extra cheesy)
1/2 lb. bacon (this is my own addition...ham is also good)

1/2 cup sliced green onions (I'm not big on onion so I usually leave it out)

I have seen this recipe done with frozen hashbrowns and it just isn't the same. It doesn't have the same creamy texture and is rather crunchy. This is more labor intensive but so worth it.

After the potatoes are baked and cooled, peel them and then grate them with a box grater into a 9x13 dish or a 3 quart casserole dish. I try to plan ahead (yeah, right) and bake them the day before. That way I can just start making it right away.

Now the rest is easy. MIL had to cook for farm workers and a passel of kids, so she didn't have time to mess around with complicated...except for making bread pre-bread maker days. I never could make bread. OK on to the easy part.

Just mix the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until melted. Oh, yeah, cook the bacon first and cut into pieces...almost forgot.

Fold the sauce into the potatoes. MIL's recipe says to smash down w
ith a fork, but I just use a big spatula to get it thoroughly mixed.

One other addition my MIL made that I don't is topping it with crushed cornflakes before you bake. Do people still buy cornflakes? I have added homemade croutons, but, frankly, I like it plain.

Now bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. And them...MMMMMmmmmmm.

I like to add the meat to it so that I can use it as a main dish. Last night we had it with just a simple mixed greens salad. I think it would also be outstanding with Pioneer Woman's green beans. This is a great dish for a cool autumn night. Enjoy!


Carl and Pat said...

Okay--that baby is absolutely adorable! Good food blog, Karen! Another reason Mom liked it is because it made a huge batch! I really like your addition of the ham. She also had a turkey casserole that I've never been able to duplicate.

Karen said...

Sometimes the good old standards just beat the haute cuisine to heck! And you're right. The batch is huge so Phil and I will be eating it for a few days.

Nicky said...

Cool baby :D

I wonder if your MIL was from Russia or thereabouts? This recipe is very close to one of ours. Since moving to low carb, I now do it with cauli instead of the potatoes - tastes better, IMO - but the texture's not quite right without the starch from the potatoes. It might also be good with sweet potatoes? We Brits leave out the soup, btw :)

Karen said...

No Russian there. My hubby's family has been around the US forever. Basically western European. I have substituted cauliflower in some recipes, but hadn't thought of doing it with this one. I'll have to give it a whirl. Thanks.