Sunday, January 2, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes

I make these about once a year, and it's usually for an annual Christmas dinner we have with close friends. My friend Maryanne is the inspiration, as she's the one who makes them when she can join us. This year I was on my own, and based on the feedback around the table I would say they were a success. You can make them ahead of time, and then finish them off 1/2 hour before serving, so it's a great recipe when you're entertaining. They're always a crowd pleaser!

Scalloped Potatoes:
1 5lb bag of organic russet potatoes
2 sweet white onion (large)
2 bags (12oz) of shredded cheddar cheese
Milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
Butter or Earth Balance
Salt and pepper

Peel, wash, and thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/8th of an inch), then place in a bowl and toss with milk to coat. This will keep them from discoloring. Peel and thinly slice onion and set aside.

I use an Emile Henry casserole dish that has a lid, which cooks beautifully. It also makes it easy to transport and reheat. Begin by placing a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the casserole. Add onions, salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of Wondra flour over each layer. It should be just a thin layer of flour. Add about 4 tbsp of milk and about a handful of grated cheese. Then add about 4-5 pats of butter or Earth Balance:

As you add a layer press it down with the palms of your hand to keep the layers evenly distributed. Keep going until you're about 1/2 inch from the top of the casserole. The milk should come about halfway up the side of the baking dish when you peek into the edge of it. You don't want the potatoes completely floating in the milk, as they'll be too watery:
Don't add any grated cheese to the top layer just yet, and be sure to pack it down with your palms. Place the cover on the casserole and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. I use a convection oven so you'll need to add some time (about 15-20 minutes for this first part) if you're using a regular oven. If you're going to transport them remove from the oven now and do the next step when you get to your destination.  Remove the cover and sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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