Whoa, has everyone checked their calendars? This weekend is EASTER!! Well, by golly, (as my husband, Ervin, always says) I’m ready! I’m excited because for the first time ever I can really have scalloped potatoes the way my mother made them. You see making scalloped potatoes is a bit like making wilted lettuce in my family, there was never a recipe. Oh yes, I would studiously watch mom make them year after year. I knew the actions and what went in them, but no idea just how much to use.
Over the January/February break I worked on this recipe and finally have it in a successful format. Usually it’s the amount of milk or cream that causes all the errors in this old-fashioned dish. I’m tickled pink to say not any more.
Usually when friends and guests talk about scalloped potatoes they think about a creamy white sauce with cheese poured over peeled & sliced potatoes. During my youth we hardly ever saw cheese because my mother wasn’t too fond of it!
Yes, I was deprived, ha, think again. The type of scalloped potatoes I grew up with are what the featured recipe is all about. However, my mother NEVER put cheese, no matter how small the amount, in her scalloped potatoes.
What does the word ‘scalloped’ mean? Well, there are two meanings, one is for a curved edge like you might cut a melon with a scalloped edge. The other means any dish with crumbled bread crumbs over the top. The truth is the definition changes in every continent and region. Basically in North America Scalloped Potatoes are potatoes that have a dairy based sauce over them. The way in which you achieve the scalloped part is personal choice. The minute we bring cheese into the picture they really aren’t scalloped potatoes anymore they are Potatoes Dauphinois, which means: ‘scalloped potatoes with cheese.’
Easter dinner, just isn’t Easter dinner without my mother’s rendition of these savory potatoes. Technically mine aren’t even scalloped potatoes because you will note I put a small amount of cheddar on each layer. This year our son, Phillip, says we’re having green bean casserole with our potatoes and ham. Ervin, my husband, will say we simply must have scalloped pineapple. Oh my, there’s that word again. Scalloped pineapple has a dairy sauce, bread crumbs, eggs, cream and sugar within the ingredients. Deviled eggs are a must even if I am the only one in our family who enjoys them. So I’ve got my meal pretty well planned except for the dessert and salad I’m set. I have a bit of a hankering for pie, so I may whip up a chess pie or maybe coconut cream.
The other good news is I am off on Easter Sunday, (I work most Sundays). I’m planning a great breakfast followed by a mid-afternoon dinner. Then I’m going to find a good book and just chill out.
Have a terrific week. Rejoice he is Risen. Simply yours, The Covered Dish
Scalloped Potatoes, (old-fashioned style)
2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes,
Washed & sliced as thin as possible.
3-4 tablespoons cold butter
Black Kettle Seasoning spice
3 tablespoons of flour, used one tablespoon at a time
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided equally 3 ways
1 cup half n’ half cream
2 1/2 quart baking dish
Wash, trim, peel (if desired) and slice potatoes and divide into 3 equal groups.
Spray baking dish with vegetable spray. Layer first group of potatoes into baking dish. Sprinkle top of potatoes with Black Kettle (multi-use seasoning spice), one tablespoon of flour, 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small pieces and one third of the cheese. Start second layer repeating all the same steps. Lastly do the third layer. Keep dish as even across top as possible. Slowly pour the cup of half n’ half across the top of the entire mixture. Put lid on top and bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 45-50 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking until potatoes are tender when stuck with a small parey knife. (15-20 more minutes) When you lift the lid you will probably see liquid bubbling around the outer edges, this is good. In the next 15 minutes or so things will thicken up and the extra liquid should dissipate as the recipe thickens.
Often I will cut up ham or crumbled bacon into the recipe amongst the three layers. Changing out the cheese to something you enjoy is certainly a good thing. Many will even choose to use a full 8 ounce bag of cheese. Chopped green onions would be good to use as a garnish.
I watched my mother, Betty, make scalloped potatoes repetitively as a young girl. I always asked mom for a recipe and she said she basically didn’t have one. In 2014-15 I finally set down and played with the layering and cream amounts until I came out with a good dish. What I remember most would be the fact that mom never knew how much milk or cream to use, she just sorta’ poured! Sometimes she’d present her dish and go: ‘Oh darn, I put a little too much milk in today.’ I don’t always make scalloped potatoes in this fashion. Sometimes I make a cream sauce on top of the stove and pour it over the layers. In the old days scalloped potatoes meant the dish had buttered bread crumbs on the top. Today in North America it means the dish has a dairy sauce over the potatoes.