This recipe can be cooked in an oven or a microwave, even finished of under one of the little grills. It can even be cooked over an open fire.
Adaptability is the name of the game here. I only have a double hot plate and a microwave. If using a conventional oven, preheat to around 180°C.
Cut potatoes into smallish pieces – as if you were going to make potato salad, and parboil until soft but still firm.
Drain and put to one side.
In a large deep frying pan gently fry the bacon bits along with the sliced Russians and bay leaves, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt to taste.
Chop the garlic into small pieces.
Cut the onions into largish pieces and add to the bacon and sliced Russians.
Sauté with the garlic until pearly, at which time your bacon and Russians should be slightly crispy.
At this point you can either sauté your potatoes or leave them as is.
If you prefer your potatoes slightly crispy then sauté them, to give them a light brown crust.
Drain off any excess oil.
Empty contents of pan [including your parboiled potatoes if you did not sauté them] into an oven/microwave proof dish [or leave in pan/use a fireproof dish if cooking over an outside fire].
Empty half the packet of chicken stuffing and white onion soup mix over and gently stir this and the cheese pieces in with a large wooden spoon – you don’t want to break the potatoes up.
Pour the container of cream over the mix, sprinkle top with the rest of the chicken stuffing and some grated cheese, add the knob of butter or margarine, and place in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, the microwave for around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave, and if over an open fire, for about 20 minutes.
The times are approximate, since everyone’s oven, micro or open fire will be different.
It is cooked when the cream has absorbed all the soup and stuffing mix and is just bubbling gently around the edges.
Some people like their food very moist, others prefer such a dish to be dryer.
If this dish is finished off under a grill it might take longer.
This serves 4 - 6 people.