I know, I know… I JUST said I was going to start posting healthy recipes since it seems I can no longer blame my tight pants on my drying machine. BUT this recipe is sooooooo good that I couldn’t not share it. My motto is nothing in excess, so if you’re going to eat something as tasty and rich as these potatoes, I recommend a small serving with a big salad to go alongside. Or, if you’re not in the my-pants-didn’t-shrink-in-the-dryer-like-I-thought camp, go for a big portion of these potatoes with a small salad while the rest of us snarl at you.
Alternatively, you could go for the lighter version of scalloped potatoes. While I often enjoy the lighter version, there’s something about going whole hog and just eating the cream-and-butter laden version I’m posting below. Of course, portion control is difficult when it tastes this good…
This recipe is from the Cook’s Illustrated New Best Recipe cookbook. My mom bought me this cookbook for Christmas and so far I have not been disappointed by any of the recipes I’ve tried. Not only that, it has about a bajillion recipes in it, so I won’t run out of culinary inspiration any time soon!
slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe
2 tbsp unsalted butter (or 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp bacon grease)
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick*
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup half-and-half or whole milk
2 bay leaves
4 oz cubed ham (optional)
2 oz roasted chili peppers (optional – my parents prefer these potatoes with roasted Anaheim peppers, but I’m a spice-pansy and omit them)
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular bread crumbs
*You will never slice potatoes this thinly by hand. Instead use a mandolin or food processor fit with a slicing attachment. You can read more about this on my other scalloped potato recipe.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Melt the butter over medium high heat in an oven-proof dutch oven or 12-inch cast iron skillet. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the potatoes, broth, cream, half-and-half or whole milk, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Add in ham and roasted peppers, if using. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of a potato slice with some resistance), about ten minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
Combine the cheese and the panko. Sprinkle the potatoes evenly with the cheese mixture. Transfer the mixture to the oven. Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes before serving.