Baba Kartoflana (pronounced Bah-Bah Kart-oh-FLAH-nah) is a great comfort food that is simple to make and perfect for any time of the day, especially during these long cold winter days. It is a dish I grew up with, although we just called it Kartoflak (pronounced Kart-oh-FLahk). But I guess the American name for it would be Polish Potato Casserole, or Polish Potato Pie.
The ingredients are very affordable and simple. And this makes enough to feed a family of 4-6 comfortably.
6-7 Potatoes (Yellows or Whites are usually suggested, but I've used Baking and Reds fine, just different texture)
3-5 beaten Eggs (I like mine to have extra eggs in it)
Bacon Fat (or Butter if you don't have or don't want to cook with Bacon Fat)
1 lb. Bacon Fried and Chopped (This time I used Ham instead)
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
Caramelize the onion in butter or bacon fat. Add the garlic for a few minutes to caramelize as well.
Peel the potatoes and keep in a bowl of water while waiting. Grate potatoes into sieve over a bowl to catch liquids from the potatoes.
Cover with a wet towel after finishing grating to keep from turning brown (which does not affect the taste). Press firmly down on the potatoes and squeeze to get out as much liquid as possible. Drain the liquid out of the bowl and put back into the dish the potato starch that is in the bottom.
Mix the potatoes and starch with the eggs, some Bacon Fat (as much as you feel comfortable adding in, I add it all), the Bacon or Ham, the onion, garlic, and pepper to taste.
In a casserole dish which is greased on the bottom, put in your mixture.
Bake on 375 degrees for roughly an hour until the top becomes crispy.
This is my older daughter's plate. She asked that I share it. She ate the entire serving, telling us that her cousins should eat this also because it's so "pyszne" (pronounced Pish-Neh and meaning "delicious").
This is my plate. I added a dollop of sour cream on top with some chopped parsley.
And this is the first of many which my husband ate. You can also cover the top with cheese and bake for another couple of minutes until melted. Or, you can add a basic a la polonaise topping, if you like, to dress it up.
You can use Leeks in the recipe instead of Onion if you like, which have a milder taste.
Butter can be substituted for Bacon Fat.
This dish can be made Vegetarian Style easily by substituting the Meat for an eggplant, beans, or other vegetables that you might enjoy, or by simply making it without the meat or any substitute at all.
I know this dish does not have any Vegetables in it, so we had a side salad as well.
If you liked this recipe, check out my recipe for Ruskie Pierogi or Potato Pierogi.
Note: Grating potatoes by hand can be time consuming. Check out Dom itp 20% OFF the Original Electric Potato Grater.
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