When I was thinking about what sides to make for Easter dinner this year, I realized that I was suffering from a pretty serious case of potato boredom. More specifically mashed potato boredom.
Don’t get me wrong. My husband Lenny makes amazing roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I mean really amazing. Love, love, love them.
But this time I really wasn’t feeling mashed. I was craving something rich, a little creamy, maybe cheesy.
I was craving scalloped potatoes. Yeah…
I have a quick confession to make. You know those packaged scalloped potatoes? The ones with the dehydrated potato slices? I used to love those. I don’t think it was as much the taste as the feeling that they were really homey comfort food…like a warm, saucy hug.
That’s the feeling that I wanted. So scalloped potatoes it was.
The thing is, scalloped potatoes are pretty simple…thinly sliced potatoes, a nicely seasoned white sauce and some cheese. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…almost everything is better with cheese. Am I right?
I started with 8 medium potatoes, which was 2 ½ pounds. I know this because Lenny got me a kitchen scale for Christmas. I love it when he pays attention to the hints I drop! I used yukon gold potatoes, but this recipe would probably be really great with russets too.
I washed and scrubbed the potatoes, and then sliced them very thin. You want them about 1/8” and consistent slices so they cook evenly. If you have a mandoline slicer, you might want to use that. (Lenny…if you’re reading this…that would be a good present for next year!!)
I start my white sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan and adding the diced onion, cooking for 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. I then add the flour and cooked for 1-2 minutes.
I then whisk in the milk (for creaminess), broth (for richness), dry mustard (for depth), salt and pepper. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat and cook for a few minutes until the sauce boils and thickens. I always taste my sauce at this point to make sure the seasoning is right and adjust as necessary.
To assemble the dish, I use a 2-quart casserole dish. Start with a bit of sauce in the bottom, then add a thin layer of potato slices, overlapping them slightly. I cover the slices with more sauce, then sprinkle a bit of parmesan and a handful of shredded cheese.
And then repeat. And repeat. And repeat, making sure to end with a liberal sprinkle of shredded cheese on the top. You could have 2 layers or 4-5 layers, depending upon the depth of your casserole dish.
I cover the casserole dish loosely with aluminum foil because I don’t want the cheese to get too brown during baking. I then bake in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes, take off the foil and cook for another 15 minutes (or more) until the potatoes are fork tender and the casserole is brown and bubbly.
And there it was…the warm, saucy, homey hug I was looking for. <<Sighhhhhh>>.
I use Yukon Gold potatoes because they are thin skinned and don’t need to be peeled. I also like the way the slices stay together when cooked. Russet potatoes would also be great as they would absorb more of the flavor from the sauce, but the slices may also break apart more.
Divide your sauce and cheeses equally among your layers, but don’t worry if it’s not exact. If you are using a rectangular baking dish, you may only get 2 layers of potatoes. I used a round casserole dish and got 4 layers, so I divided into quarters.
The casserole may seem “soupy” when it first comes out of the oven. Don’t worry. Just give it a few minutes. It will thicken as it sits.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
- 2 ½ lb. potatoes (about 8 medium) – thinly sliced
- ¼ c. butter
- ¼ c. onion, diced
- ¼ c. flour
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. chicken or veg broth
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ c. grated parmesan
- 2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack / Cheddar Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onions and saute 4-5 minutes until soft.
- Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in milk, broth, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth, thickened and boiling.
- Place a small amount of sauce at the bottom of your casserole dish.
- Add a thin layer of potato slices, overlapping them slightly. Cover with a portion of the sauce, parmesan cheese, and a handful of shredded cheese.
- Repeat layers to fill casserole dish, finishing with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and the top is golden brown and bubbly.