Thursday, 13 December 2007

Scalloped Potatoes

This is somewhat time-consuming, pot-dirtying and definitely very rich, with the result that it is made mostly for special occasions and guests. However, it can also be done in several steps, and assembled in advance, which makes it a low-stress dish for company. I like to make the sauce the day before, and just heat it enough to be spreadable when I layer it with the potatoes. This in turn can be done several hours before the casserole goes into the oven (refrigerate it in the meanwhile) although you will need to add, say, 15 minutes to the baking time to allow for taking the chill off. The one thing you should not do is let the sliced potatoes sit out of the sauce for any period of time, or they will darken and deteriorate.

I do like to make this just for the two of us sometimes, and in that case I am likely to treat it as the main dish of the meal. And also to cut the recipe in half, which it does very easily.

8 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Scalloped Potatoes2 medium onions
2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
4 cups milk
salt and pepper
200 grams old cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon savory
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground
1 teaspoon salt

8 medium potatoes

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, or more grated cheese,
or a combination of crumbs and grated cheese

Peel and chop the onions, and cook them very slowly in the 2 tablespoons of butter, until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, make the white sauce: cook the remaining butter with the flour until well amalgamated. Slowly whisk in a little of the milk, working out any lumps as you go. Continue until you have a mixture that is smooth and not too thick, then whisk in any remaining milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the seasonings and the cheese, and continue to keep over low heat, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted. Add the caramelized onions.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wash the potatoes, trim them of any bad spots, and slice them thinly. Spread about one quarter of the sauce in the bottom of your baking dish - which should be large and shallow such as a lasagne pan - and top with a layer of about one third of the potatoes. Follow with another layer of sauce, another of potatoes, more sauce, the final layer of potatoes, and top with the last of the sauce. Sprinkle the crumbs and/or remaining grated cheese over the top of the dish. Cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until nicely browned.

This can also be cooked at a lower temperature, to accommodate other dishes being baked at the same time, but it will take longer - at 325°F you can expect it to take twice as long. For 350°F I would allow another half hour.


Peter M said...

Ummm, I'm diving in! Ferdzy, I also like the sage addition.

Bellini Valli said...

Perfect you may laready know I have never met a potato I didn't like. I love the herb additions!

Kevin said...

I could easily eat scalloped potatoes as the main course of a meal! mmm...

Kevin Kossowan said...

My standby recipe is Anthony Bourdain's from Les Halles. I have not made it in a LONG time. FAR too long. Maybe it's the cream scaring me away...and my recent need to push the scale's number down a bit...

caligerm said...

Nice blog. Scalloped potatoes is one of my favorite dishes, but you're right, it is a time consuming dish unless you do this: get yourself one of those mandoline devices (get a good quality one though). They're great and make all of that daunting slicing a breeze!