Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

I know it's the wrong season to be sharing this stick-to-your-ribs potato recipe-- it's not even potato salad! I also know that this potato dish is unphotogenic, but if you like scalloped potatoes, you really should try this recipe out.

It's the one I grew up eating, and we ate it as a main dish then, just as my family now does. Side trip: when we first were married, John seriously told me that he liked his food "bland and dry." Well, as is evidenced by his great love for all things spicy, his tastes have broadened a bit. Though he still avows that he hates creamy main dishes, he's had a passion for these scalloped potatoes since I made them that first year. He made them for us this past Sunday, and they were the best I've ever had.

Unlike some scalloped potato recipes, this one gets its simple and delicious flavor without the use of cheese, which may be why it slipped past John's Radar of Savory Creaminess.

***For the unsurpassed ones he made this past Sunday, he used whole milk (I usually skimp and use skim), and though he made a double batch, he used a slightly lesser amount of potatoes and a slightly larger amount of the onion mixture.) Here's the recipe for a single batch, but you can increase the onion mixture slightly if you want to copy John.

2 pounds potatoes (@ 6 medium), sliced
: We never peel the potatoes, though the recipe calls for them to be, and we use a food processor to slice them thinly. If you aren't ready to use them right away, either prepare the other parts of the recipe first or put the sliced potatoes in a bowl of water with a bit of salt to prevent them from browning.

one onion, peeled and quartered
, chopped together with
3 tablespoons flour,
1 tsp. salt,
and 1/4 tsp. pepper: We use the processor for this, too, which chops the onions into infinitesimal pieces that permeate the whole dish with flavor.

Add 2 cups of milk (whole, if you want the best) to the onion mixture and mix well. (If you're using a processor, just pulse the milk together with the onion mixture.)

Chopped, cooked ham
, in whatever amount you'd like

Layer half of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a large, ovenproof bowl.
Layer 1/2 of the milk/onion mixture on top.
Layer on 1/2 of the chopped ham.
Dot with 1-2 tablespoons butter.

Repeat layers and top with a bit of additional chopped ham, if desired.
Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 1- 1 and 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.

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