I love casseroles in winter, and the thought of vegetables with bacon and cheese got to me so I created this dish.
Preheat your oven to 375 C. While the oven was heating, I browned a pound of bacon that I cut into bite-sized pieces, and drained off the fat.
In a medium saucepan, begin melting about a quarter cup of butter or margarine over medium-high heat. Add a quarter of a cup of flour to make a roux for the cheese sauce.
Make sure to cook down the flour for several minutes to get rid of the starchy taste. It should look something like this picture:
Slowly add in two cups of milk. When I use a roux, I use regular 2% milk instead of heavy cream. If you have richer taste buds, feel free to use cream instead. Once the mixture is smooth, add two cups of grated cheese. I used Havarti for this recipe, but your favourite cheese would be fine.
Once your cheese sauce is ready, peel and dice four to six potatoes; enough to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add one roughly chopped onion.
Next, I added broccoli and red pepper. With a recipe like this, you can use any vegetables that you enjoy eating. Keep in mind the cooking time for potatoes, and try to make sure your veggies are cut into pieces that will hold up to it. Add the cooked bacon, and mix well.
Pour your cheese sauce over the entire dish, allowing it to fill in the spaces.
For the topping, I used a mixture of Havarti and mozzarella cheeses. Havarti becomes very creamy when melted, and I wanted a bit more body to the cheese topping. If you’re a fan of breadcrumbs on casseroles, this would be a good time to use them.
You might be wondering why I didn’t add my usual pile of spices to this casserole. Cheeses are very salty, so I didn’t want to add extra salt to the mix. Havarti has a nice pungent flavour to it, so I wanted the flavour of the cheese and the vegetables to stand alone, and stand alone they did.
I really enjoyed this dish, and will definitely make it again with different cheeses and different vegetable combinations!