Spicy Sweet Potato and Bacon Casserole

From Cook’s Country

4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

8 slices bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

5 lbs sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin

3/4 c heavy cream

3/4 c buttermilk

2 1/2 tsp salt

5 scallions, sliced thin

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse bread, butter, and 1/2 c cheese in food processor until coarsely ground.

2. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 tbsp fat. Cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sweet potatoes, cream, buttermilk, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining cheese, cooked bacon, and 4 scallions.

3. Transfer mixture to 13 x 9 inch baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining scallion. Serve.

Can be prepared through step 2 and refrigerated for up to 1 day. The bread crumb mixture can be refrigerated separately and will keep for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, cover with foil and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake until topping is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

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