Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

These.  These are better than the box variety, I promise. And they're not hard to make. Basically, it's like making macaroni and cheese but with potatoes. No biggie. Except it will be big to your family who will appreciate you just a little more.

And you know you could use some appreciation.

Yeah, me too.  *hugs*

This is such a simple, basic, but delicious recipe.  You can even make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  (See my notes.  I have a note about that.)

Listen, friends don't let friends eat scalloped potatoes from a box.  They just don't.

My notes:

--You can use all milk if you'd like.  I have before.  But I prefer part half and half and, yes, I can tell the difference.

--I have actually assembled this the day before and stored it in the refrigerator to bake the next day.  Be aware that salting the potato layers is going to pull out a lot of water from them overnight, though.  Mine were very watery the next day when I put them in the oven, but the water did cook out and they tasted great.

--This is just a basic, although delicious, recipe.  There a a million things you could add.  Parsley thyme, onions, garlic, chives, bacon, ham, different cheeses...the list goes on and on.  Do something wild.  Or not.

--I much prefer to shred my own cheese from a block than to buy pre-shredded cheese.  I think it melts much better and the shredded cheese in the packages just seems waxy and weird to me.

--You are going to have to cook this until the potatoes are tender, and that is going to probably be over an hour.  Just stick a fork in them to make sure their done.

--Let this cool and sit for at least 20 minutes before you serve it.  This is really important because A) this stuff is scalding hot, and B) the sauce will be super runny and it will thicken a little as it cools.

--The thinner the slices, that faster it cooks.  Slice them as evenly as possible.

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter plus extra for buttering the baking dish
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper for seasoning
3 1/2 pounds potatoes (russet, red or golden) washed and scrubbed, peeling left on

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium to high heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half; continue to cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in 3 cups of the shredded cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, slice potatoes thinly, no more than about a 1/8 of an inch thick.  Generously butter a 13 x 9 inch or equivalent size baking dish.  Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom in an even layer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce evenly over the top.  Repeat twice, then sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 60-75 minutes OR until potatoes are fork tender all the way through and the top is golden brown.  (If top starts getting too brown before the potatoes are tender, cover with foil.)  Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

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