BAKED POTATO CASSEROLE (adapted from Martha Stewart)

5 lb russet potatoes
10 slices bacon
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chives, minced
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

This recipe can always be adapted to heat on the grill. Simply prepare the casserole in advance and take to your tailgate. Heat on a medium hot grill until potatoes are heated through and then garnish with bacon.

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