December 13, 2010 by Flora Dawn
Although I love holiday sweets, I figured it was time to post something sans sugar. I know it might seem unlikely, but we actually do eat more than chocolate and peanut butter between Thanksgiving and New Year and to prove it I decided to post something savory.
My husband and I love potatoes, our daughters not so much. We always tease them that this is unnatural given our Irish heritage, but the point seems somehow lost as they look blankly at their plates, pondering why we make them eat this mushy root vegetable.
Lucky for me (or them, depending on the way you look at it) there are a couple ways they’ll eat potatoes without argument: fries and scalloped potatoes, aka “cheesy potatoes” at our house.
Basically scalloped potatoes involve thinly sliced potatoes, cream, and cheese; baked to a bubbling, browned casserole of potato goodness. However, there are many different versions of this classic dish, most involving the dreaded cream of something soup (sorry, I really hate the stuff), weird cheeses, or flour.
This version, adapted from an American Test Kitchen recipe, is really simple and tastes divine, and not a can to be opened. You partially cook the potatoes on the stove top, greatly reducing the cooking time in the oven. Effectively making scalloped potatoes a reasonable dish to get to the table (1 1/2-2 hours in the oven is not really my cup of tea for a side dish).
It really helps to get the potatoes thin and uniformly sliced, so unless you have amazing knife skills (unlike me), it really helps to use a food processor of Kitchen Aid fitted with the slicing blade. A mandoline would also work, but I am too chicken to own one, for fear use would result in a trip to the emergency room.
Scalloped Potatoes may not be the prettiest thing at the table, but they are delicious and comforting on a cold, winter day. And they pair especially well with ham or pork chops.
You could replace all or half the cheddar with another cheese, like Parmesan if desired.
- 2 TB butter
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 5), peeled & sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves and discard. Transfer the mixture to and 8-inch square baking dish (or a similarly sized casserole dish) and gently spread potatoes into an even layer.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cream is bubbling and the top is golden. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.