Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ranch Potatoes, my way

You can't browse recipes on Pinterest for very long without bumping into a recipe for Ranch Potatoes. They seem to be very popular in the USA and yet practically unknown in the UK. Sometimes they are baked, sometimes cooked in a slow cooker, sometimes they are cut in chunks, sometimes they are sliced, sometimes other ingredients are added. But one thing they all have in common, which gives them their name, is that they include Ranch style salad dressing, usually a pack of dehydrated dressing reconstituted with milk or cream.

Ranch dressing isn't very popular in the UK and dehydrated dressings practically unknown, so I've never been able to try this dish. But when I won a hamper that contained a bottle of ready made Ranch dressing I thought I'd give these potatoes a try. I read through a dozen or so very different recipes and worked out this version which combines the features I liked from all of them.

I'm sure my version isn't "authentic", if an authentic version exists, but boy was it good!

Ingredients (to serve 4):
4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
125ml bottled Ranch style dressing
6 rashers of very thin cut streaky bacon
100 g Cheddar cheese, grated
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
seasoning (my bacon was very salty so I only used pepper)

Start by grilling the bacon until really crispy. Allow to cool and then crumble or chop into a large bowl.

Heat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4 and grease an ovenproof dish - the one I used is about 20x28 cm

Add half the grated cheese and the ranch dressing to the bacon and mix well. Season to taste. Cut the potatoes into chunks - I cut each into 8 chunks - and add to the bowl. Mix well and turn the whole lot into the ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and bake in the oven. After 45 minutes, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C, 425 F, gas mark 7.

Remove the foil and scatter the sliced spring onions over then top with the remaining grated cheese. return to the oven for 15 minutes. The potatoes should be tender and the cheese browned.

I served this with sausages, broad beans and peas

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