Thursday, November 20, 2014

AUTUMN COMFORTS: Scalloped Potatoes (A Recipe Post)

November may not be the shortest month of the year, but it always seems to fly past--possibly because it’s one of the busiest. Holidays, elections, shopping at its most insane (Black Friday, anyone?), personal challenges like the Great American Smoke-Out and National Novel Writing Month . . . finding the time to relax, reflect, and simply be in November is an ongoing challenge, even with that extra hour we regain when Standard Time resumes.

This year, after a challenging summer, I’m trying to take autumn slow and easy. That doesn’t mean being less productive--while I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I am on course to finish my WiP this month--but rather to enjoy the journey and not stress out so much about the destination or how fast I get there. And to savor whatever comforts the season has to offer.

I count cooking among those comforts. As the weather cools and the days grow shorter and darker, I find the kitchen one of the pleasantest places to be. Especially when something that smells wonderful and tastes even better is bubbling away on the stovetop or in the oven.

This recipe for scalloped potatoes is a family favorite, freely adapted from several recipes in our collection of ancient cookbooks. The proportions can be adjusted easily to feed a larger crowd (as written, this serves about 3 or 4 people), and it makes a delicious accompaniment to anything from Thanksgiving turkey or ham to humbler meatloaf or chops. And yes, it makes the house smell heavenly!


SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH CHEESE

3-4 medium to large baking potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
1/3 c. flour
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1 c. grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar, but if you prefer milder cheeses, Gruyere is an excellent alternative)
Salt
Pepper
1 1/2-2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 1 qt. casserole dish.

Peel potatoes and slice into rounds no thicker than ¼ ".  Place a layer of slices on the bottom of the casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle about a Tbsp. of flour over the potato slices. Dot with butter and add a layer of cheese. Repeat until potato slices are used up (you’ll probably end up with about three layers). Sprinkle the top with any remaining cheese.


 Heat milk in saucepan until scalding. Pour over stacked potatoes. The top layer should still be visible through the liquid. (If you have more milk than you need, set it aside. You can always add it later in the cooking process, if the potatoes absorb what’s already there.)

Cover casserole with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden-brown on top.


Serve hot, as a side dish to just about anything!


Pamela Sherwood

6 comments:

  1. Yes, I would love to have about half of that last picture! Looks wonderful and I bet it does make the house smell lovely. My granddaughter has picked out southern ambrosia for our fruit salad this year and the recipe says that when you are browning the coconut and pecans in butter that it makes the house smell really good. She's coming over to help me with the cooking this year and we're both looking forward to the day!

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    1. Carolyn, cooking becomes very much a family event at our house too, once the holidays arrive. And I'll just bet browning coconut and pecans smell as ambrosial as the recipe they're part of. Toasted nuts, yum!

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  2. Wow, Pamela, I'm in the mood for Thanksgiving now. I can almost smell your potatoes. Thanks for the post and have a great holiday.

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  3. Sally, they taste as good as they smell--trust me! :-) Happy holidays to you!

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  4. Yum, that looks delicious! I cheated and bought a pre-made one, lol, but I might try this next time!

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  5. E.L.F., homemade scalloped potatoes do take a bit of time, but they're worth the effort! Bon appetit! :-)

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