A cheesy scalloped potato recipe seems easy at first. Everyone knows how to make scalloped potatoes, right? Maybe not. Most cooks simply use whatever method their mother taught them for this homey dish, without considering whether they're using the right ingredients for the best possible outcome. Since scalloped potatoes consist mainly of just three ingredients (potatoes, cream/milk and cheese), you've got to make sure that each ingredient is just right for the best results.
Check out the produce aisle of your grocery store and you'll likely find at least five varieties of potato, maybe more. Which type is right for scalloped potatoes? Well, potatoes are classified as either starchy or waxy, with a few types falling in the middle. Starchy potatoes, like russets, make fluffy mashed potatoes and are also good baked. Waxy potatoes, like red potatoes, hold their shape well when cooked, so they are an excellent choice for stews and soups. Most recipes for scalloped potatoes call for russets or Yukon golds, which are between starchy and waxy potatoes in texture.
Milk or Cream
Scalloped potatoes require liquid and plenty of it. Since the potatoes basically braise in the liquid until most of it is absorbed, you want to choose a liquid that has excellent flavor and that will give your finished scalloped potato dish the creaminess you desire. Skim milk is called for in low-fat scalloped potato recipes, but it does not add much to the dish in terms of texture or flavor. For the best, creamiest results, use whole milk, half-and-half or heavy cream, and worry about the fat and calories later. Just one caveat: Scalloped potatoes made with only heavy cream may be so rich that the other flavors are obscured, so find a blend of milk and cream that you enjoy.
Make sure the cheese you choose is a good melting cheese with plenty of flavor. Otherwise, it may get lost in your finished scalloped potatoes. If you like a pungent or tangy flavor, try a goat cheese or blue cheese. Parmesan or Romano cheese will lend your cheesy scalloped potatoes a sharp and salty edge. Use cheddar or Colby for a super-traditional cheesy scalloped potato dish that your whole family will love.
Most scalloped potato recipes don't call for much more than a little onion for flavor. However, since potatoes are relatively bland on their own, you can certainly use herbs, spices, vegetables or other flavorings to give your cheesy potatoes a little extra flair. Garlic, bacon, mushrooms, rosemary, basil: The options are limitless.
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need:
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil or bacon drippings
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour (use less if using cream, more if using whole milk)
3 cups half-and-half (can use whole milk or cream)
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Saute onion in olive oil or bacon drippings until soft and translucent, and set aside.
Layer ½ of potatoes in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, overlapping as necessary. Season well with salt and pepper. Spread onion evenly over potatoes, and then sprinkle with flour and dot with ½ of butter. Spread ½ of each type of cheese over potatoes, reserving the remaining cheese. Layer the remaining potatoes over the top of the cheese and onion layer, season and top with remaining butter. Pour the half-and-half over the potatoes; it should fill the pan about ?" of the way to the top.
Cover dish tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover dish, sprinkle with remaining cheeses and then bake 45 minutes more until potatoes are very tender and the top is dark golden brown. Allow scalloped potatoes to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
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