Potatoes Au Gratin with Fennel & Bacon

fennel

What can you do with fennel? Add bacon!

1 lb sliced bacon
5 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. Nash’s soft white flour
3.5 cups milk
½ tsp. white pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
2.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 lb. yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
7 leaves fresh basil, or 1 Tbsp. dried

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Fry bacon in a large skillet until browned. Drain on paper towels. Chop or crumble, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and starting to bubble. Gradually whisk in milk while stirring constantly so that no lumps form. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with white pepper, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until smooth, adding a handful at a time. Set aside.

Use 1/3 of the potatoes to make a layer in the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with 1/3 of the fennel, 1/3 of the bacon and 1/3 of the basil. Pour about 1/3 of the cheese sauce over everything. Repeat layers two more times or until you run out of room. Cover the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the cover during the last 30 minutes to allow the top to brown if desired.

We thank AllRecipes.com for this recipe.

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