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molten lava cake

Bacon and Cheese Potato Cake (Pommes des Vendangeurs)

I've said it before and it's still true. I adore potatoes. And as Michael said on many occasions, "Bacon makes everything taste better." So when I saw this recipe for what's essentially a bacon-wrapped potato gratin with cheese, I absolutely had to to try it. Loved it so much I made it twice. In a single weekend. Met the hearty approval of 6 kids (10 to 12 years old, including one who said it was the best potato dish he'd ever eaten) as well as the adults present (though they felt a little guilty about the fat content). Even with most of a package of bacon, one kid said, "I think it needs more bacon." Ah...there's a man after my own heart.

What does Pommes des Vendangeurs mean in French? I'm getting a translation of "apples of the grape pickers" at http://www.freetranslation.com. Are they serious or are they just trying to get me to purchase a real translation?

small picture of the bacon and cheese potato cake

Bacon and Cheese Potato Cake (Pommes des Vendangeurs)

Items needed: One ovenproof 9-inch round baking pan, preferably nonstick. (I used a 9-inch round stone baking dish with sides.)

1 tablespoon butter [omitted]
6 ounces slab bacon or 1 package of bacon
2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes or red potatoes
1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese [used Irish cheddar since that's what we had]
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425*F.

  2. Butter the bottom and sides of pan. [skipped this step since there was plenty of bacon though it might've made removing from pan easier]

  3. Arrange the bacon slices, spiral fashion, on the bottom and sides of the pan. Allow the bacon to drape over the edge. Set aside.

  4. Peel the potatoes, rinse under cold running water, and pat dry. Slice into thin rounds, rinse again, and dry thoroughly in a thick towel. [I was too lazy to dry the rinsed potatoes and that didn't seem to hurt things]

  5. Arrange one third of the potato slices on top of the bacon

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  6. Sprinkle with one third of the cheese.

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  7. Repeat, creating two addtional layers of potatoes and cheese.

  8. Fold the overhanging bacon onto the potatoes. [You might want to put a toothpick through the center to try to keep the bacon from curling up and away from the center.]

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  9. Bake, uncovered, until the potatoes offer no resistance when pierced with a knife, 40 to 50 minutes.

  10. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer it to a rack. Let it rest, still covered, for 15 minutes, so that the potates will unmold easily. Unmold the potatoes onto a warmed serving platter, season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and serve, cutting into wedges. [I left mine in the dish and served it from there at the table.]

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    Serve with a salad. Could serve 4 as a main course or maybe 6-8 if each person only gets a little taste of it.

    snarkactual suggested a few variations on this dish called Pommes de Terre Etouffade: "You'd add chopped onions, chopped shallots, some thyme, parsley and a bay leaf to the casserole. A Norman version of this that's a bit messier to eat substitutes heavy cream for the cheese and uses chopped sauteed onions with a thin sliced smoked ham or bacon."

    von_krag suggested throwing in mushrooms and diced onions.

    I don't remember how I stumbled upon this recipe since I don't hang out on xanga but I had bookmarked this recipe at some point and I'm really glad I did. Many thanks to MrsCatherine!

    Thread at food_porn

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"Pommes" is definitely "apples." I don't know about the rest of it though.


cool...way to satisfy my desire for instant feedback :)
Vendange means something like vintage or harvest in wine-speak so Vendangeurs could be grape-pickers. But I just don't understand what they had in mind when they named this dish then...

hmmm. pomme de terre is potato in french - apple of the earth, literally. i don't know about the grape-picker part of it, though!

and man, that looks heavenly.

ah ok...I had assumed pomme meant potatoes from pommes frites. Nice to know the full name. I like your profile page....can I be added so I can read more? (I'll readily admit I frequently go through times where I fall way behind in reading though)

Per the remark in food_porn ... "Harvest Potatoes".

cool...thanks for the explanation!

Oh YUM. I must try this!!!!

It'd be a fair trade then. I made your bacon-wrapped dates and loved them every bit as much as I thought I might. Thanks!

Vendangeurs is definitely grape picker according to my handy dandy French dictionary. Well, it actually says "wine harvester" but to me that's a grape picker. It looks delish!

I can only guess that it got it's name because it was fare traditionally served to the grape pickers during harvest. It looks like it would have been a fairly portable lunch. One that I must try. Of course we know that French women don't get fat, so I won't worry about the amount of bacon.

someone else suggested it translates to "harvest potatoes" too. Do enjoy this dish when you make it.

*looks at can of chicken noodle soup I brought in for dinner*

*looks at images of lovely cheesy-potato-bacon dish*

*looks back at can of soup*

*tries to eat computer monitor with images of lovely cheesy-potato-bacon dish*

actually you helped calm my hunger for the night. I was hungry and had no more of this lovely dish. I had some leftover roasted chicken that I didn't feel like eating. But when you mentioned canned soup, that was just what I needed. Threw the leftover chicken in with the canned soup and was satisfied.

Mmmmh, that far exceeds what I'm having for dinner. Looks delicious!

Thanks...sadly I didn't have it tonight. I would've but I have no potatoes and I was getting tired of peeling and slicing them.

*reads post with interest* *clicks to get recipe & further picks*



yum. that looks awesome, in a totally "OMG I'll never see my feet again!" way :D yum yum YUM!!!! I really want to make that!

Your reaction is very much what my reaction had been the first time I read that recipe!

Could the name of the dish be Pommes de terres Vendangeurs? If so it might mean Potatoes, Vinter's style? Pommes de Terre are potatoes whereas Pommes are apples. Vendangeurs literally as you point out means "grape picker" but roughly translated would be a small vineyard farmer or small vinter. The dish sounds more Gascoigne (Gascony) or Midi Pyrenees which might be the reason for the choice of vendangeurs over vigneron. It is also possible that this is a from the French part of Switzerland given the use of Gruyere cheese. But it's been a coon's age since I spent any time in the area so I could be wrong.

However it is named or why, they're wonderful and I'll have to find an excuse to make some soon. BTW, try it with the Gruyere it's wonderful.

Thanks for thinking through the etymology of the name for me. I don't think I've tried Gruyere before but will get some the next time I make this.

that looks heavenly...

i think i just gained 5 pounds just looking at the photos! =D

well you don't eat the whole thing by yourself! so maybe just half a pound gained :)

Oh my, that looks fabulous. Bacon does indeed make everything taste better. Did you use regular bacon? I still have half a package of turkey bacon left in my refrigerator, I wonder if that will work in a smaller dish. Hmm. The recipe looks very simple too. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing! And by the way, you always take the most divine pictures of your food -- well done!

Yeah I bet turkey bacon would still do it. (did you know they use some pig bacon in making the turkey bacon?) But I wouldn't try it with fakin' bacon...it tastes ok but it doesn't taste like bacon. Thanks for the compliments on the photos!

that looks delicious.

good to see you around. hope you are healing.

yep...a day at a time :)

Whoa! That looks sinfully good.
And it´s so simple. I´m definitely going to try that soon!

Wow..! The recipe looks so easy. I may just make it here and invite some friends over. What a treat that would be in VN!

coolness. Let me know what you think of it.