Put 3 quarts of water on the stove to boil. While the water is coming to a boil, peel and cut the potatoes. The potatoes should be cut to about a 1-inch cube. Not a perfect cube obviously because potatoes are round. Don’t be a perfectionist, they’re going to be mashed anyway! I’m talking to myself, LOL. Once the water is boiling, gently place the potatoes in the water and boil for 10-15 mins or until fork tender. Be careful to not overcook them because you won’t be able to form them into a ball if they’re too soggy.
While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a deep skillet until crispy. It needs to be crispy so you can crumble it. Also, no one likes floppy bacon. Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess fat. Set the skillet and rendered fat aside, we will be reusing them for frying because everyone loves bacon fat and no one likes doing extra dishes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the water and place in the mixing bowl. This step can be done with a stand mixer, hand mixer or by hand. Add the bacon, cheese, 1 tbsp of the chives, sour cream, heavy cream, butter, garlic salt, and pepper. Mix until smoothish. Some chunks are fine.
For this step, I used a 1 ½ tbsp scoop because, as I mentioned before, I might have a slight problem with perfectionism. You don’t need a scoop if you don’t have one, you can use a spoon and eyeball it. Roll each scoop into a ball and place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least 30 mins. This is where you would stop if you’re prepping ahead. If that’s you, you will also need to store the bacon grease so it doesn’t go bad. It’s not necessary but it adds a TON of flavor. It’s up to you.
Dredging. Set up your dredging assembly line. It’s a lot easier to make sure everything is set up before you start because you won’t have to wash your hands until you’re done. Once you are set up, add the 2 cups of oil to your bacon skillet and turn on medium heat. 2 cups was enough for my skillet. You may need more and you may need less the goal is to have enough oil that it covers half of the bite at a time. I was able to dredge all of the bites before my oil was hot but if you aren’t using cast iron, consider setting the temp a little lower so your oil doesn’t burn. I am using a 15 inch cast iron skillet. You can use a regular skillet if you wish but you should look into a cast iron pan. It will change your life! Here is a link to my favorite cast iron skillet.
Roll each bite in egg wash making sure it’s completely covered. Lift the bite out of the egg wash and allow excess egg to drip off. Place each bite in the panko breadcrumbs and press into the bites. I did 2 bites at a time so I wouldn’t crowd the breadcrumbs. That made it easy to use two hands to scoop up the breadcrumbs and the bites and gently squeeze them in my hands. Once dredged, place on a cookie sheet and finish the process.
Make sure your oil is hot enough before you start frying. You can add a little pinch of the breadcrumbs to the oil to test it. If they bubble and brown within 1-2 minutes, your oil is ready. If they sink and nothing happens, your oil isn’t hot enough. Remember that you are not cooking the mashed potatoes, you are only cooking the breading so this goes quick. Place 5-10 bites (depending on your skillet size) in the skillet. You will need enough room to flip them and remember, they are cold so you don’t want to put too many in at a time or you will drop the oil temp and they will be soggy. Once golden brown, remove from skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
I served these with sour cream and it was perfect. Top the sour cream with the reserved chives to the top of the sour cream. Dip and Enjoy!!