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Friday, May 3, 2013

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Here is great way to use up leftover ham and create a wonderful comfort food casserole.


3 pounds Potatoes, Washed (I like to mix Red and Yellow Potatoes)
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
2 cloves of Garlic, Minced
3 cups Diced Ham
1-½ cup Milk
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
¼ cups Flour
Black Pepper to taste
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Grated
1 cup Monterey Jack, or other mild white Cheese, Grated
Chopped Parsley or Cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish.
Slice the unpeeled potatoes with a mandolin, or slicer, into 1/8-inch slices.  If you are using a knife, try to get the slices as thin as you can.  Soak the sliced potatoes in a bowl of water to leach out the starch. 
While the potatoes are soaking, melt the butter in a large skillet.  Sauté the onions for a minute or two, just until they start to turn translucent.  Add the minced garlic and quickly add the diced ham.  Cook another 3 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the milk and cream in a microwave-safe container and heat it just enough to take off the refrigerator chill.   Add the flour and black pepper and whisk it until the pepper and flour is totally combined. Set aside.
Grate and mix the two cheeses. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes and pat out most of the moisture with a clean dish towel or paper towels.

Now you are ready to assemble.  Make a layer of 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in the casserole dish; add a layer of 1/3 of the ham and onion, then 1/3 of the grated cheese, and top with 1/3 of the milk and cream. Repeat these layers 2 more times. 

Note:  Stir the milk and cream mixture between each layer because the flour tends settle on the bottom.

Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until bubbly and hot.  Test to make sure the potatoes are thoroughly cooked
Cut into squares and serve.  Top with chopped parsley or cilantro before serving!

Yield:  8 Servings

(Note: If you want to reduce the baking time, boil sliced potatoes for about 3 to 4 minutes before assembling the casserole.  You will need to drain and cool the potatoes a bit before assembling.)

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