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Caramelized Onion and Potato Flan

By popular request, here is my recipe for a Caramelized Onion and Potato Flan.  OK, really, in a comment on the article "Substitute for Gruyère Cheese", Cindy asked if I would post it.

The recipe is based on one published in A Year of the Best: Seasonal Recipes From The Best of Bridge with Chef Vincent Parkinson.  The KitchenSavvy version adds more flavor depth with the addition of bacon, rosemary and garlic, and by using Jarlsburg cheese, which has a slightly stronger,  more nutty flavor.  See the post "Flavor Layering" to understand what I mean.

 Caramelized Onion and Potato Flan (serves 8 to 10)

2 Oz Bacon, about 3 slices, cut crosswise into ¼" (6mm) strips
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Large Onions, thinly sliced
   ⅛ Tsp Salt
   ½ Tsp Dried Rosemary Leaves, finely ground
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
   ¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
6 - 8   Russet (or other baker) Potatoes, thinly sliced
   ¾ Lb Jarlsburg Cheese, grated
    Cooking Spray
  1. In a medium sautée pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to a dish lined with paper towel.  Set aside.
  2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat.  Add the butter, and when melted add the onions.  Sprinkle with the salt, toss to coat evenly with the fat, cover and reduce heat to low.
  3. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onions are completely soft.
  4. Uncover, increase heat to medium-low, and cook the onions, turning frequently, until they are a deep mahogany brown.  Adjust the heat as needed to get the onions to caramelize without burning.
  5. In the last minute, add the rosemary, garlic and ground pepper, and stir to distribute.  Cook until the pungent raw garlic odor subsides.  Cover and let cool enough to handle.
  6. Crumble the drained bacon.
  7. Lightly spray the inside of a 10 - 12 cup baking dish with cooking spray.
  8. Arrange ⅓ of the sliced potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of the dish.  Spread half of the caramelized onions over the potatoes, followed by half of the bacon, and about ¼ cup of the grated cheese.
  9. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, then the rest of onions and bacon, and another ¼ cup of cheese,  finishing with a final layer of potatoes.  Press firmly to compress the layers a bit, and then top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 50 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.
  11. Remove from the oven and let set 10 - 15 minutes before serving.

KS Tip 1: For a meat-free version, omit the bacon and use 2 tablespoons of butter, starting in step 2.

KS Tip 2: Instead of rosemary, try other savory herbs such as sage, thyme, or marjoram.

KS Tip 3: The Jarlsburg can be substituted with another melting cheese such as Gouda, Gruyère or Emmental, depending on taste.

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