It’s hard to face reality after a week of vacation.
To remember what it’s like to plot and plan the coming week’s menu of cooking. Instead of perusing a restaurant menu for your vacation’s 3 square meals after hiking about or lounging at the pool.
And let’s not even talk about how 5 o’clock somewhere comes along a lot slower or sometimes not at all.
Sigh, let’s not even get started. Vacation, where did you go?
So now that I’m back home after a week of spring breaking, I went straight to one of my top favorite recipes, one that teleports me to my childhood and the warm fuzzies that always leave me going back for seconds. Okay, maybe thirds.
Taters. Cream. Cheese. Comfort-centric Sunday dinner just isn’t the same without them.
Scalloped Potatoes are almost always paired with one of my favorite hams…
or my very favorite home cooked, steak house-style dinner.
You just have to go rich and big if you’re going to go at all.
My mom always made her Scalloped Potatoes with cream of mushroom soup. It was one of my favorite parts of one of my favorite dinners ever. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve moved away from the canned stuff and on to basic cream, chicken broth and butter that envelops tenderly sliced potatoes to create a seriously decadent side dish with minimal effort.
About the recipe:
This time around I used russet potatoes versus the waxier white potatoes. Russets have a higher starch content and thus, created a tender bite.
Cooking the potatoes in the cream and chicken broth prior to baking not only speeds up the oven time but also gives the sauce an even creamier texture due to the starches the potatoes yield during the pre-baking cooking process. It is all about the creaminess IMO, afterall.
Combining even amounts of cream with chicken broth brings the heaviness of scalloped potatoes down to a normal range. So you won’t feel as if you need to waddle away from the table instead of walking.
While the original recipe didn’t call for Parmesan cheese, I like the extra bite Parmesan adds to this dish. It’s a great compleiment to
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add the garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds, stirring until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the onions, thyme leaves and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until onions become soft, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the cream and chicken broth and stir. Add the potato slices and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes or the potatoes are nearly fork tender.
- Transfer half of the mixture to a 1 ½ quart dish, an 8 X 8 or 9 X 6 dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with the remaining potato mixture, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese then top with the remaining cheddar cheese.
- Refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is golden brown. Let rest for 5-10 minutes until serving.
adapted from Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe
Because there’s always room for more…
Parmesan Crusted Scalloped Potatoes
I am totally digging the idea of a crusty, parmesan loaded top. All of the basic scalloped potato flavors are represented in style, and then kicked up with a crusty Parmesan cheese layer takes over the taste buds. Recipe here.
Pumpkin Scalloped Potatoes
Sweet potatoes and yukons meld perfectly with fontina and Parmesan, all draped in a pumpkin puree laced cream sauce. This sounds like the perfect combo of sweet and cream. Recipe here.
Parmesan Scalloped Potato Stacks
This might be one of the funnest ways to serve up scalloped potatoes, cooked in a muffin tin and served silo style. Recipe here.
Four Cheese Garlic Scalloped Potatoes
Not one, not two, but four cheese flavors come together to create a perfectly melded potato mix that’s already got me thinking about heading to the store for more russets. Recipe here.
As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you.