Fox 8 Recipe Box: Pumpkin and Potato Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese

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Local chef and caterer Bob Sferra of Culinary Occasions shares a potato casserole recipe that is not only perfect for Thanskgiving, but would be a great side dish all winter long.

Click here to learn more about Culinary Occasions and Bob's upcoming cooking class schedule.

Pumpkin and Potato Gratin with Bacon & Gruyere Cheese

Serves 8 to 10

6 cups peeled fresh pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1½ pounds)
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
salt, to taste
1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), room temperature, divided
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large eggs
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (8 ounces), divided
8 slices smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, cooled, and crumbled
(reserve rendered bacon fat)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
2 scallions, green tops only, cut into ⅛-inch thick slices

Preheat the oven to 400ºF
Place the pumpkin and potato cubes in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to cover
Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife,
about 20 minutes
Drain in a colander, then return to the same pan (off the heat)
Add 3 tablespoons of the butter to the pan, and mash with a potato masher or pass through a food mill
Add the nutmeg and sage, then season to taste with salt and pepper
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until completely combined, then stir in half the cheese
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and heat through
Stir in the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes
Butter the bottom of a 2-quart gratin dish.
Layer the sautéed onions on the bottom of the dish
Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly over the onions, then sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top
Blend the remaining tablespoonful of butter with the breadcrumbs, green onion, and crumbled bacon; sprinkle evenly over the cheese mixture
Bake, uncovered, until the crust is light golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil to finish the cooking process; let stand 10 minutes before serving

Variation: Substitute acorn or butternut squash for the pumpkin.

Make It Ahead: Assemble the gratin through Step 6 up to 2 days in advance; remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Pie Dough
Makes enough dough for 2-9” pie crusts or 1 pie with a top crust

1 lb. 9 ounces bread flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 lb. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
5 ounces cold lard, cut into 1/2 cubes
1/2 cup ice water
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine the flour and salt in the food bowl of food processor. Process a few times to combine the ingredients.
Remove lid and sprinkle the cold butter and lard atop the flour mixture; pulse the food processor several times until the butter and flour are coated and the mixture resembles small peas. (the lard and butter must be cold when adding)

Once the mixture starts to form a small crumb and slightly coming up the sides of the bowl, slowly poor in the ice water and cider vinegar thru the feed tube with the motor running.
Process a few times until the dough just barely comes together, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead into a disc. Wrap tight with plastic wrap and chill for 12-48 hours before using. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated or frozen for up to a month. Thaw by placing in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to use.

Easy Pumpkin Custard Pie
Serves 8

2 cups heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 large whole eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups pumpkin puree (1-15 ounce can)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (recipe follows or purchase pre-made)

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat the cream in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat; remove from the heat when bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan. Do not boil!
Gradually and gently whisk the warm cream into the eggs just until incorporated;
add the Maple Pumpkin Butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Do not whisk vigorously or air bubbles will form on the surface of the liquid.
Pour the custard mixture into the chilled, unbaked pie shell.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325ºF and bake until the center is set, about 30 minutes more. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Note: If baking in a ceramic pie dish, increase cooking time by 10 to 15 minutes.

Make It Ahead: Make and bake the pie up to one day in advance and refrigerate.

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