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Naturally Good Scalloped Potatoes
Adding some Pizazz
Scalloped potatoes are a great way to put some pizazz into an ordinary meal. With a bit of time and effort you can make a side dish your family will be raving about. This recipe does not taste like anything out of a box. Instead it has a mild flavor of thyme that compliments the velvety potato taste. You can use yellow finn, red skin, or even purple potatoes in your scalloped dish. I prefer Yukon gold for an extra buttery flavor.
You can find all of the supplies at your local grocer or depending on your gardening skills, you could be using the potatoes you harvested along with parsley that has been dried from your herb garden. I try to keep my ingredients fresh from the current season when I choose to make any recipe. I make my own butter, from heavy cream, to use in most of my baking and cooking. I can get fresh thyme from the local food co-op and in turn, support a local herb farm.
Making this dish seems to be a bit time consuming at first, but if you happen to have some extra cooks in the house, this recipe will go by fast. You can have someone make the sauce, while another is slicing the potatoes. Everyone can gather around the baking dish and dry and layer the potatoes. I find that cooking with others, even if it is supervising some young sous chefs in the making, is a pleasure. Especially when the meal is served and all the participants get to taste their labor of love, discuss how great it was to prepare the dishes together, and decide on what creation should be made for the next time we all cook together.
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Gather You Ingredients!
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, Unsalted is
- 1 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 to 3 Medium Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
- 2 Tablespoons Thyme, Fresh and Chopped
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg, Fresh and Grated
- Dash Kosher Salt
- Dash Pepper, Ground
- 1/2 Tablespoon Parsley, Dried
- 3 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, 8 to 10 Medium size
- Butter, Cut into Dabs & For Greasing Pan
- 2 to 3 Cups Cold Water, for sliced potatoes
- 6 to 8 Ice Cubes, for potato water
Did You Know??
- Placing potatoes in cold water will prevent them from getting brown spots. Potatoes get these brown spots when left out in the air.
- When making hash browns, french fries or any recipe calling for thin sliced potatoes, ice water will remove any excess starch to the bottom of the bowl. This leaves the potatoes firm and crisp.
- When making mashed potatoes or boiling for a salad, you should start off the cubes of potatoes in cold water and then place the pan on the stove to cook. This allows the potato to cook more evenly and also saves your fingers from getting splashed with hot water when dropping potatoes in the pot.
Make Ahead Tips
- The dish can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead of baking time. Make sure that the dish is covered and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while the oven heats.
- Letting the dish slowly warm up on the counter will prevent the glass dish from cracking or breaking when placed directly in a hot oven. This type of extreme temperature change can do that to some bake-ware.
- You can keep the cooked scalloped potatoes, covered, in a warm oven 250F to 275F for up to 1 hour before broiling and serving.
How To Create Scalloped Potatoes
- Wash the potatoes well.
- In a large bowl, place 2 to 3 cups of cold water and 6 to 8 ice cubes.
- Using a mandolin slicer, set the thickness to 1/8 of an inch thick. Slice a potato with skin on or off, depending on what you prefer. If you do not have a mandolin slicer, you can use a food processor that has a 2mm disc for thin slicing or thin slice the potatoes by hand with a knife. Have a cutting board or large pan under the mandoline slicer to catch the potato slices.
- Place the slices of potatoes into the bowl of cold water. Continue to slice and place potatoes into the bowl till all of the potatoes are in the cold water. Let them soak till ready for use.
- In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, whisk the cream, milk, garlic, thyme, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and then remove from the heat. Let the sauce cool in the pan.
- Grease a 9X13X2 baking dish. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup. or pour-able bowl. The garlic pieces along with some of the parsley and thyme will remain in the sieve. Set the oven to 375F and make sure your rack is in the middle of the oven.
- Place a handful of potato slices onto a towel to get off any excess water. Set the baking dish so that one of the small sides is at the top. Begin to make the first layer by overlapping the potato slices all the way down the pan. you should use about 1/3 of the slices. Keep slices close to each other, ensuring that there is no glass showing. As you begin to run out of slices, place more on the towel.
- Once the first layer is completed, pour on just enough sauce to barely cover the potato slices. Turn the pan so that the end you began with is now at the bottom and begin layering the next potato slices on top of the end you just finished. This method of layering will help to keep the layers even as you continue to go up the pan.
- Add on more sauce and begin the last layer. Do not worry if you can not fit 1/3 of the potatoes on each layer. Just make a 4th layer. You just do not want to go over the edge of the baking dish. There will be enough sauce for the whole dish, but if you feel there is not, add just a bit of even amounts of heavy cream and milk.
- Place the dabs of butter on the top layer and cover with tinfoil. Place the dish on top of a cookie sheet to help catch any of the liquid that may bubble over during cooking. Place baking dish, with cookie sheet, on to the middle oven rack.
- Bake until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and reset the oven rack to within 6 to 8 inches of top broiler. Set the broiler to High.
- Uncover the potatoes and gently press them down with a flat spatula so the cream mixture mostly covers them. Broil until nicely browned on top, 5 to 8 minutes. Let the potatoes rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. They will be extremely hot!
Scalloped Potatoes Out From Broiler
About Some Of The Ingredients . . .
- I do not use salted butter due to already adding salt in the cream sauce. You can use salted butter, but you might want a smaller dash of salt in the sauce. Remember you will also be buttering the baking dish with salt if you use salted butter.
- The herbs that are left in the fine sieve are usually discarded. If you would like to put them in the pan on top of the last layer, please do.
- Just in case you can not get fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons of dried thyme equals 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme.
- I use fresh nutmeg because I bake with it often. If you have ground nutmeg in a jar, just measure the same amount for fresh. The only difference is the taste. Just like anything else, fresh herbs just taste better.
- If you do use a different type of potato for this recipe, just make sure that you have 3 1/2 pounds. Each potato type will give you a different amount due to size. I am not sure, but I think that most grocery stores still have scales in them when buying loose produce.
Please feel free to leave your comments or questions below and most of all, have fun cooking and eating Naturally Good Scalloped Potatoes!
© 2013 Susan McLeish