Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes

Wow, it's been a while! In my defense, we HAVE moved to the other side of the world, so I haven't just been sitting around doing nothing :) But my friend Chaoyi reminded me that at one point I DID post recipes on this blog, so I'm trying to do a little better! And what better excuse do I need than the fact that Thanksgiving is coming up?!?

A couple years ago, I wrote a post and listed (with links) our basic Thanksgiving menu. I thought I'd post the link again in case you are looking for some ideas this year:

The big difference this year is that Jeremy is smoking our Thanksgiving turkey! For graduation from residency, he got a Big Green Egg and I've been fighting for his attention on the weekends ever since ;) Just kidding... kind of. Last weekend he "practiced" for Thanksgiving with a 12-pound bird, and this is what we had for dinner:

It really was amazing. It only took 90 minutes to cook, and it tasted UN.BE.LIEVABLE. Usually I can go without the turkey on Thanksgiving--I look forward to the side dishes more... But no longer! And now I feel like this crown jewel needs something new to go along with it! Something less "traditional" on the menu than what we're used to... And something with a smoky flavor to complement the turkey. So I looked at for some fresh ideas. Of course they didn't disappoint.

And so I give you... Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes! It's a variation on a recipe from the Neelys at Food Network; click HERE for the link to the original recipe. But I modified it quite a bit, so I'll just write it out with my changes below. You're welcome in advance :)

Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes
3 TB butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 C half-and-half
2-3 tsp smoked paprika (I used Penzey's Hungarian Smoked)
8 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
2 C smoked Gouda cheese, grated
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 dish with 1 TB butter; melt the remaining 2 TB in a large saucepan (trust me, you want it to be big--you'll be putting all the potato slices in it). Once the butter foams, add the shallots and garlic and sauté till softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes (but watch it, you don't want it to burn). Season with salt and pepper; then add the half-and-half, smoked paprika, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes; again, watch this--I know from experience what an unbelievable pain it is to scrub the burnt stuff off the bottom of the pan...

Pour half of the potato mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Shake the pan to arrange the potatoes in an even layer. Sprinkle half of each of the cheeses and half the bacon on top of the bottom potato layer. Add the remaining potatoes, even the layer out again, and sprinkle on the rest of the cheeses and bacon. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. 
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