Friday, August 1, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes with Garlic, Butter & Cream

One of the ultimate comfort foods, Scalloped Potatoes must be one of our favourite side dishes, especially when we're expecting a large group of ravenous friends for dinner. Rich, creamy and full of flavour, there are many versions of this classic gratin. My Mom used to make it using a can of Campbell's mushroom soup! Although we often add sliced onions, grated cheese, nutmeg or fresh thyme, our core recipe starts with peeled and sliced russet potatoes layered in a garlic rubbed baking dish, smothered in a combination of whole milk and cream then dotted with a butter. If I use onions and cheese, I add them with each layer of potato then cover with the cream mixture and top with a final flurry of grated parmesan and sprigs of fresh thyme. Bunged in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours until the Scalloped Potatoes are bubbling and golden brown, the ambrosial smell will entice guests into the kitchen well before the dinner bell rings.

Scalloped Potatoes
Serves 10-12

6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 lb yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack set in the lower third of oven. Rinse the sliced potatoes in cold water and pat dry in a towel. Rub a shallow earthenware dish with the garlic cloves and butter well. Arrange sliced potatoes in layers in the baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Dot with the remaining butter and pour the cream over the potatoes. Transfer the baking dish to oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. During the last 10 minutes, turn the heat up to 400°F to brown the top of the potatoes so that they become golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let the dish stand for 5 minutes, before serving the scalloped potatoes directly from the baking dish.