It’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’m posting potatoes. Perfectly fitting, I guess, but I’m not really suggesting you rush right now to the kitchen and make these today (although, do feel free :). I’m really thinking ahead to right-around-the-corner Easter, because if there’s one thing that baked ham needs next to it, it’s creamy, cheesy potatoes!
Perfect for your Easter brunch or dinner table, or great any time of year, this cheesy scalloped potatoes recipe is my take on classic scalloped potatoes. They’re creamy and cheesy and stood up!
These potatoes are my take on classic scalloped potatoes, with a few modifications. First, the potatoes are sliced thinly and stood on their side – “stood up”. If you have a mandolin and aren’t afraid to use it, it would make quick work of the potato slicing. Me, I’m afraid of mine, so I resort to a sharp knife and a little patience. You’ll want to slice them as thinly as possible, while still getting a full slice. I won’t lie. It’s a bit of a labour of love, but trust me … it will all be worth it.
Once the potatoes are sliced and stood-up, sliced onions and cooked bacon are placed in between the slices and then a creamy sauce is poured over it all. Finally, a lovely aged white cheddar cheese goes on for the last part of baking.
The creamy sauce on this one is nice and thick and is made with only whole milk (no cream!) and chicken broth, thickened with flour and a bit of butter. I do recommend whole milk, as I mentioned, there is no cream so a higher fat milk is really needed to give this dish it’s “creamy” sauce. The sauce is also flavoured with a bit of mustard, Worcestershire and some thyme leaves. I loved the bit of chicken stock in the sauce. It adds great depth of flavour and stops it from becoming overly rich.
Look for a great aged white cheddar for your topping. I used a British cheddar called Coastal. Dubliner would be great, as well. Anything white, nutty and crumbly. As for the potatoes, I went with unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes. If using a different type of potato, note that your cooking time may vary.
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced, cut in to 1-inch long pieces and separated
- 6-7 large Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potato
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole (3 or 3.5%) milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp. + fine sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 100g (3.5oz) Aged White Cheddar, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375° F. and grease a rectangular, shallow baking pan approximately 8x10-inches (or 9x9 inches would work, as well)
- In a skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon until lightly browned. Remove to a paper-towel to drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute (mixture will be crumbly). Add milk and chicken broth and whisk, until well combined. Cook until mixture is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat. Add mustard, Worcestershire, thyme leaves (if using), salt and pepper. Taste sauce. Sauce should be well-salted, so add more, if necessary. Put lid on saucepan and set aside.
- Cut ends off potatoes. Slice into thin rounds (as thin as you can while still getting a complete slice), using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Stand the potatoes up side-by-side in your prepared pan. Continue until you have about 3 rows that fill up 3/4 of the width of the pan (by the time we put onion and bacon in between, they will spread out to fill the entire width of the pan).
- Take your sliced onion and start inserting it in between every 3 or 4 potato slices or so. It doesn't need to be too precise. Just fit some in here and there. Repeat with the bacon bits, trying to insert in different spaces. Spread your potato slices out evenly across the entire width of the pan, ensuring they are still standing up-ish. Sprinkle with some salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Pour our sauce over top. Using the back of a spoon, push the sauce from the top of the potatoes down in between the potatoes and between the rows.
- Cover with foil. Bake on a baking sheet (in case of bubble overs) for 45 minutes covered. Remove foil. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over top. Return to oven uncovered (still on baking sheet) and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes. Test potatoes for done-ness by sampling a potato slice from the centre of the dish and making sure it's cooked. If not, cook a bit longer.