When I was a kid my mother would make the worst scalloped or au gratin potatoes. To be fair to her, she followed a recipe that most everyone else was using at the time. When I was invited for dinner at my friends’ houses, their mothers’ scalloped potatoes tasted just like the ones at home.
They sliced the potatoes raw, tossed them in flour and added thinly sliced onions, salt and pepper and then poured milk over just to cover and put them in the oven. Near the end of the cooking time they’d toss in some cheese.
Mom’s scalloped potatoes were always lumpy and either too runny or way too stodgy to eat. When I grew up and started cooking, I never ever thought about making them on my own because my mother was a good cook and her scalloped potatoes were crap. I assumed (wrongly) that they were difficult to make.
Enter the easiest recipe. It’s not quick, I’ll be honest, but if you’re looking for really good, really creamy potatoes au gratin or scalloped potatoes with cheese, this baby is IT. There is nothing difficult or tricky in this dish and you’ll be a hero.
With this recipe you boil the potatoes whole while you sauté the chopped onion and bacon (and garlic if you want) in lovely butter, then stir in the flour and then add the milk and cream and once the mixture has thickened, you add in the grated cheese.
One the potatoes are nearly cooked, drain and cool to where you can touch them and slice them to the thickness you like to eat. I like mine about 1/8 of an inch but because the potatoes are already nearly cooked, any thickness will work. Pour the sauce over the potatoes (I poured mine in layers but I don’t think it really matters. The liquid will find its way.
I have a recipe I’m going to make tomorrow that needed chicken so I bought a whole chicken and roasted it for dinner tonight and decided these potatoes would be perfect with it. Sometimes I get in a rut and eat my beloved mashed potatoes and gravy way too often. This is a side dish that I love.
- 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 large potatoes, peeled
- ½ cup butter (scant)
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups milk, warm
- ¼ cup cream, warm (added to the milk)
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- extra butter for dotting on top of the bread crumbs before baking
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel potatoes and cook til barely tender and set aside to cool.
- In a skillet, saute onion and bacon on medium low in melted butter
- When onions are soft, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes
- Gradually add the milk and cream and bring to the boil.
- Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste (this sauce is delicious right off the spoon)
- Slice potatoes and arrange one layer on the bottom of a casserole dish
- Pour over some of the sauce and add another layer of potatoes. Continue until all the potatoes have been sliced and sauced.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and dot with butter
- Bake at 180C/350F for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.