Tomorrow I'm straying slightly off course from my annual Holdiay Meal Plan. Shhhh...don't tell anyone! Rather than the usual mashed potatoes, I decided to kick it up a notch and make scalloped potatoes. I love scalloped potatoes, but when I've tried making them they usually fall flat...far from the creamy cheesy goodness that is floating around in my brain. So, where to turn? To Cook's Illustrated of course!
I'm pretty sure I made this recipe a few years ago, and loved it. But I haven't made it since....not because it wasn't memorable, but because when in a hurry, those mashed potatoes are so darn easy.
I hate to alter my meal plan, because it just works so beautifully. After the turkey comes out, the cornbread and apple pie pop right into the oven at 425 degrees. So, unless a dish can go in the oven with those two things, there's really no way to pull it off. Well, golly gee, guess what? The scalloped potatoes also take a 425 degree oven! Yippee!! And, it can be fully assembled the night before....another whooping shout of glee there!
For Thanksgiving I doubled the recipe. I fully believe these will be gobbled up by the dinner guests tomorrow and there will be none for leftovers. That's my little secret....the second pan will be in the fridge to heat up with all the other leftovers. Another, "woohooo!" if you will....
If you do double the recipe, I recommend making it in two pots. I tried one large (12 qt) one, but it was taking too long to get to a simmer, and I feared the bottom would burn. Once I put have the contents into a smaller pot, things went smoothly. You'll still want to pay attention to the bottom, scraping it gently (yeah, that's an oxymoron!) so you don't mush the potatoes in the process.
As you can see, I cooked up a small little dish of them (used that handy dandy toaster oven) so I could "make sure they're good enough for company." (That's what my mom used to say when we got Halloween candy...she wanted to sample some so she could make sure it was good enough for us. Uh, huh....) Oh, my... what a nice little treat to taste after cooking all day long. I declare them good enough for company.
Smoky Scalloped Potatoes
Move over, mashed potatoes—we love this recipe for an alternative holiday potato side dish. Buttermilk and smoked Gouda give this casserole its rich flavor and creamy consistency, so we don’t recommend substituting these ingredients. Here’s what else we discovered:
* Adding a pinch of baking soda to the potatoes as they cook helps to tenderize them without leaving any residual taste.
* This dish can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Serves 8 or more
4 tablespoons unsalted butter*
1 large onion , minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 pounds russet potatoes , peeled and sliced thin**
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, mustard, thyme, salt, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in potatoes, cream, buttermilk, and baking soda and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cheese and transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
2. Bake until cream is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead: The casserole can be prepared through step 1 and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.*** When ready to bake, cover with foil and bake in 400-degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
* I always have unsalted on hand, but with all my holiday cooking, I ran out. I made it with salted butter and it came out just fine. But if you have the unsalted on hand, I'd use that.**I used the Cuisinart food processor to slice them up. Easy and quick. 3 mm. was a good thickness....not too thick for tenderizing, and not so thin that they got mushy when the cheese was mixed.
***Knowing this was going to be a big hit, I made two pans of it. On Thanksgiving we had more food than we knew what to do with, so I didn't cook the second pan. We invited some friends over Saturday night, and cooked it then....3 days after it was prepared. Tasted just as good!!