|not my best pictures ever...|
On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at the grocery store because we weren't stocked to make anything for dinner. I hate grocery shopping without a plan, and I like for my plans to be in a list format. This is a two-fold hatred because I really hate being half way through making something only to discover I am missing a vital ingredient and I hate making multiple trips to the grocery store in the same week.
Regardless, I decided on a whim that I would really like some scalloped potatoes. I probably haven't had them since last Christmas, and I very rarely make them myself. This is because I have the habit of thinking that I can just make them without a plan and then I end up with something that isn't quite scalloped potatoes.
I borrowed from around the internet and my own basic knowledge of scalloped potatoes, and this is what I came up with. They were pretty delicious, especially with a little bit of Siracha sauce.
Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin
About 9 russet potatoes
4 cups milk
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
1 small onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped ham
parmesan cheese if desired
salt and pepper
The first step is to make your cheese sauce. This is going to be a bit thinner than your typical cheese sauce for pasta because it's going to be the liquid that cooks the potatoes.
In a medium-large pot, melt your butter. When it is hot, sautee your onions, bell pepper, and garlic. When the onions begin to become translucent, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Cook the flour about one minute.
Slowly add in the milk, whisking the vegetables continuously. Add the bay leaf. Over medium heat, continue to whisk the milk mixture. When the mixture begins to simmer slightly and is thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese. Put to the side.
Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the potatoes and slice thinly, but evenly. I like really thinly sliced potatoes, but anything around 1/8 of an inch is fine.
Layer half of the potatoes in the baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper as you layer. Pour half the cheese sauce over the potatoes, spreading out to the edges. Top with a layer of chopped ham. Continue to layer with potatoes. Top with the remaining cheese sauce and sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan cheese.
Cover and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. If your dish is very full, place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch any bubbling over. Remove the foil and let cook an additional 10 minutes (I turned mine to broil so it would brown a bit on top).
To test if it is done, insert a sharp knife in to the center of the dish. If it meets little to no resistance, it is cooked through. Let sit uncovered for about 10-15 minutes before serving.