Scalloped Potatoes

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I like to think of scalloped potatoes as the poor cousin of potatoes gratin and potatoes dauphinoise.  For this dish, potato is sliced much thicker, and unlike gratin (which usually has cheese) and dauphinoise (which usually has cream), scalloped potatoes are thickened with flour and milk and just a wee bit of butter.  As a result, the dish is a bit more rustic and humble, but also a bit easier on the waistline (and of course every bit as delicious).

Every time I make this dish I’m surprised at just how delicious a few simple ingredients can be when they come together.  Each ingredient helps accentuate the flavor of the potatoes.  After the potatoes themselves, I think garlic is the next most integral part of this dish; you can taste the garlic, but the potatoes don’t taste garlicy, per se…they just taste like really fantastically delicious potatoes.

A Note on the Milk:  I use whole milk in this recipe to prevent or at least minimize curdling (the higher fat content of whole milk reduces the likelihood of the milk curdling when cooked…of course cream would work even better than whole milk, but that’s for another recipe ;) ).  It’s for this reason that I don’t recommend using reduced-fat milk in this recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes

(Yield:  About 6 servings)

1 TB olive oil

1 small-medium onion, finely diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

4 medium starchy potatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs total or 4 c sliced)

3 TB all-purpose flour

1 TB cold butter, plus more to grease the pan

Salt and pepper

About 1 1/2 c whole milk

Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with butter.  Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; add oil and sauté onion and garlic until softened but not brown (about 8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Peel potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds; cut the 1 TB cold butter into very small pieces.  On the bottom of the prepared dish, arrange 1/4 of the potato slices, then top with 1/3 of the onion mix, 1 TB flour, a few pieces of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Repeat this process 2 times, then top with the final 1/4 of the potato slices, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a few pieces of butter.  Carefully pour the milk into dish, making sure not to disturb the potato layers (the milk should come to just under the top layer of potatoes so you might need more or less to achieve this).

Bake (uncovered) 60 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked (to test them, poke a sharp knife into the center of the casserole; if it slides right out, the potatoes are done).  Let the potatoes sit about 15 minutes to thicken before serving.

The milk should come up to about here…you will need about 1 1/2 cup (give or take a bit, depending on the size and shape of your pan) to achieve this.

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  1. says

    I didn’t know that about the fat content of milk and curdling. But when I think about my morning coffee, it makes sense why I don’t like fat-free milk ;) These look delicious, Faith. I’ll certainly be trying these!

  2. says

    i always thought the term “scalloped” came from the shape of the cut of the potato, that it looked like a scallop shell, but like just about everything I ever thought about food, I was wrong. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.

  3. says

    I agree that garlic is essential to great scalloped potatoes – and I love your recipe, Faith! I also find that you need a higher fat to prevent curdling, which is why scalloped potatoes are a sometimes treat for me :)

  4. says

    My Mom made us scalloped potatoes all the time growing up, but I don’t think I’ve ever attempted them myself! The crusty brown top is obviously my favorite part! So good. Thanks for the recipe :)

  5. says

    Scalloped potatoes are pure comfort. These look and sound so good. And I didn’t know that fact about milk curdling. Very good to know! Thank you for sharing another beautifully rendered post. You know how to get my week off to a great start. I hope your week bursts forth with flavor and love. Hugs from Austin!

  6. says

    This is a classic American dish. It always tastes really good, I have to agree with you. The simplicity of it reminds me of Julia Child’s Pommes Anna: just potatoes, butter, salt and black pepper. That recipe is not nearly as forgiving with calories, and strangely, more difficult to make.

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