Thursday, March 31, 2016

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Every Easter my mom makes a ham and sends us home with leftovers. This year I had my eye on a new recipe for Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. I liked that Ree added onions and cheese so I was excited to give it a try.

Scalloped ham and potatoes

When I made this I followed her recipe exactly save for one thing - precooking the potatoes. I made the mistake years ago of attempting to make scalloped potatoes using raw potatoes. It simply does. not. work. Do NOT make that mistake. You must always parboil the potatoes, otherwise you'll be waiting forever for the potatoes to cook through (or eating crunchy potatoes). I also splurged and used heavy cream, something I haven't purchased in years. And you know what, this was way too rich. Our tastes have certainly changed so feel free to use equal parts half-and-half and heavy cream, if that's what floats your boat. Next time I'm switching to all half-and-half or maybe even equal parts half-and-half and milk.

Another tip - use more cheese. I upped the amount below. And do yourself a favor and use extra sharp Cheddar. Steve didn't even realize there was cheese in the dish until he was setting aside his lunch portion.

It may sound like we didn't enjoy this but that's definitely not the case. And I wanted to share it with you now because I'm confident these small tweaks will make all the difference.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

3 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 yellow or sweet onion
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups diced ham
3 cups half-and-half (or 1 1/2 cups each half-and-half and milk OR heavy cream)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8oz grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4oz grated Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large, deep casserole dish (at least 2 1/2-quarts, preferably larger).

Peel the potatoes, rinse under cold water, then pat dry. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice potatoes into very thin slices (1/8-inch). Put the slices into a large pot of cold water. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Once all the potatoes are sliced, bring to a boil then continuing boiling for 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool slightly.

Cut the onion in half then cut each half into thin slices. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until they start to caramelize, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the half-and-half and milk OR heavy cream (if using) then whisk in the flour, salt and black pepper until totally combined. Set aside. Combine the two grated cheeses. Set aside.

Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the ham and onions, then 1/3 of the cheese, then pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese before pouring on the rest of the cream mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot.
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