Bacon Mashed Potatoes and Root Vegetables

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 ounces bacon , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces carrots , parsnips, turnips, celery root, or parsnips cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons; turnips or celery root cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; rinsed well in 3 or 4 changes of cold water and drained well
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
salt
3/4 cup half-and-half , warmed
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
ground black pepper

Method
  1. Cook 4 slices (about 4 ounces) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, in large saucepan over medium heat until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from pan. 
  2. Add butter to pan and keep over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add root vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is browned and vegetables are dark brown and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. (If after 4 minutes vegetables have not started to brown, increase heat to medium-high.)
  3. Add potatoes, broth, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cook, covered, over low heat (broth should simmer gently; do not boil), stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart easily when poked with fork and all liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. (If liquid does not gently simmer after a few minutes, increase heat to medium-low.) Remove pan from heat; remove lid and allow steam to escape for 2 minutes.
  4. Gently mash potatoes and root vegetables in saucepan with potato masher (do not mash vigorously). Gently fold in warm half-and-half, reserved bacon, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.
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