The Weekend Gourmet: February Daring Cooks Challenge: Bacon-Cheese Mashed Potato Cakes F

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Daring Cooks Challenge: Bacon-Cheese Mashed Potato Cakes

One of the cooking groups that I take part in is Daring Cooks challenges at The Daring Kitchen. It's such a fun group...each month, we’re challenged to make a new kitchen creation based on a specific theme selected by that month's host. This month’s theme was patties, and we were challenged to come up with a dish that can be served in a patty form. Think burgers, fish cakes, etc. I love to make burgers as much as the next gal, but I wanted to try something a bit different for me. 

I thought about this for a couple of weeks, and couldn't settle on any one recipe. However, inspiration finally struck me when I thought back to my childhood. My mother would sometimes turn leftover mashed potatoes into simple, yummy potato pancakes. I always loved them, but I haven’t eaten them in years. I decided to make an amped-up version of these mashed potato cakes for this month’s challenge: Bacon-Cheese Mashed Potato Cakes. All my favorite flavors from a stuffed baked potato in a patty form.

These patties couldn’t be simpler to whip up, and they are pure comfort! Humble leftover mashed potatoes are flavored with cheese, bacon, green onions, and a bit of spice…then pan-fried in butter. They’re browned and slightly crispy on the outside and creamy and delish on the inside. They can be served as a side dish with pork chops or roasted chicken…but I served them with scrambled eggs and biscuits for a breakfast-for-dinner meal this week. Sometimes? The simplest recipes are the best! These come together in about 10 minutes…cooking the bacon is the most time-consuming step.

Bacon-Cheese Mashed Potato Cakes
adapted from my Mom

Step 1:  Add the following ingredients to a medium bowl: 1.5 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar, 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, 2 slices cooked crumbled bacon, 2 sliced green onions, 1 tbs. grainy mustard, Cajun seasoning to taste, and 1 egg. Combine with a sturdy spoon -- or clean hands -- until the mixture is totally combined.

Step 2:  Shape the potato mixture into four patties. Combine 1 cup flour and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning in a shallow container. Coat both sides of the patties in the seasoned flour. Melt 2 tbs. butter or olive oil in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add the patties and cook for 4-5 minutes per side...give the plenty of time to crisp up and become golden-brown. Be sure to flip them gently so they don't break apart.

Step 3:  Once the potato cakes are golden-brown on both sides, remove them to a serving plate. Let them cool for a few minutes before eating as the insides can get quite hot! These patties are so yummy! In addition to creamy potatoes, there’s smokiness from the bacon, melty cheese, and lots of flavor from the green onion/mustard/Cajun spice combo. As you can see, they're crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

We loved these potato cakes! You could easily make mini versions of these potato cakes and top them with a dollop of sour cream for a fun party appetizer. Their flavor is a bit like a stuffed baked potato. The mustard is very subtle in the background, but it really adds that little extra “something” to the finished dish. The next time you have some leftover mashed potatoes, I hope you’ll give these tasty little potato cakes a try!!

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