The Goddess has never met a potato she doesn’t like…you too? And mashed potatoes offer the most amazing amount of comfort to her. I think they do to many people. If you’re a purest, then take a look at Mashed Potato Perfection. Plain, simply prepared mashed potatoes are truly a thing of beauty, butsome she ran the idea of flavored mashed potatoes up the flagpole, and quite a few of you expressed interest. The Goddess is hoping you will let us know what you add into your mashed potatoes. I’m guessing there are some things you’ll think of that have never crossed her mind…she’s pretty easy to fool, you know! Therefore, we’re going to explore some possibilities.
From time to time, The Goddess has been known to add things to mashed potatoes. You know, like dillweed, caramelized onions, cheese…mounds and mounds of cheese. Sometimes she adds various veggies, and cooked winter squash or sweet potatoes (both of which are nice on a chicken-based Shepherd’s Pie)…you get the idea. Really, more or less whatever floats her boat at the moment, what she has in the fridge and what she’s going to serve with or on top of the potatoes. This dish, while based on mashed potatoes, is a dish unto itself. We’re going to make pierogi lasagne. Why not? Think about it a moment. I’ll wait. Doesn’t it just make perfect sense? This is basically a giant pierogi. And way less time consuming. It’s best made ahead, even the day before and it is the perfect buffet food. There are those who will think this is a sacrilege and The Goddess gets that. Pierogies are a labor of love. But, there’s a time and a place (my kitchen!) for this version. Sometimes it’s a good thing to eat outside the box, or in this case, the dumpling.
This is actually a reason to make extra mashed potatoes. Leftovers are a wonderful thing. So we have our mashed potatoes, but you want them to be more purée-like; just a tad soupy. You also want to slightly under-cook the pasta; you want it to soften enough to handle, but still need to be cooked further. You’ll fry your bacon, remove all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat and sauté the onion in that. You want the onion to soften and pick up some color, but not burn!
Now, you’re ready to assemble the Giant Pierogi! Oil a 9×9-inch casserole. If you’re going to bake this right away, then preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half in the bottom of the the dish. Lay a single layer of the noodles in; cut to fit, if needed. Plop about 1 cup of mashed potatoes on the pasta; spread them evenly to the edges. Sprinkle 1/3 of the onions evenly over the potatoes, then about a handful of shredded cheddar evenly over the onions. Repeat this layer two more times, ending with the cheddar. I add a thicker layer of cheddar for the top layer. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is hot and all the cheese is melty and delicious! Let stand for about 10 minutes to allow it to set. Cut into squares, and serve. You may wish to sprinkle with some of the crumbled bacon and chives. I like to serve sour cream on the side (or on top) and a good glob of sautéed onions and crumbled bacon. If you like sauerkraut, add that to the middle layer. It can just be plain, very well-drained sauerkraut or you can make Oma’s Sauerkraut, but omit the apples. Sautéed mushrooms are also a delicious addition. See…outside the box!
You could serve this as a side, but it makes a fine main course, and without the bacon (or bacon fat), is vegetarian. If gluten is an issue, use gluten-free lasagne noodles.
This is a great buffet dish and can be assembled ahead (I think it’s better that way!)
- 5 cups prepared Mashed Potato Perfection
- 6 slices bacon, coarsely diced, fried and crumbled
- 1 large onion, finely minced (about 2 cups)
- 2-3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
- 3-4 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 4-6 lasagne noodles, cooked (see NOTE)
- 3/4 cup Oma’s Sauerkraut (optional)
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, sautéed (optional)
- Finely minced fresh chives or parsley, for garnish
- Sour cream, for service
Prepare the mashed potatoes as directed. But, add additional liquid until they are more of a puréed consistency. Salt them more heavily, as the pasta will pull salt from the potatoes. You’ll be making about half a batch.
In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in the bacon fat until they soften and brown a bit. Set aside. Cook the lasagne noodles until just slightly underdone.
Begin assembling the dish. Oil a 9×9-inch casserole (deeper is better!). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half in the bottom of the the dish. Lay a single layer of the noodles in; cut to fit, if needed. Plop about 1 cup of mashed potatoes on the pasta; spread evenly to the edges. Sprinkle 1/3 of the onions evenly over the potatoes, then about a handful of shredded cheddar evenly over the onions. Repeat this layer two more times, ending with the cheddar. I add a thicker layer of cheddar for the top layer. MAKE AHEAD: You may make this early in the day or the day before to this point. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. You may need an additional 5 minutes in the oven.
Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chives or parsley, as well as the crumbled bacon. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, or on the side, as desired.
NOTE: Lasagne noodles come in different sizes and thickness. I prefer the thinner ones, but either work. They should just be barely tender, as they will cook and absorb some of the liquid from the potatoes. You may add a layer of sauerkraut in the middle, along with sautéed mushroom, if desired.
Pierogi Lasagne Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2021. All rights reserved.