Scalloped potatoes, with their creamy texture and layers of thinly sliced potatoes, are a quintessential comfort food that graces tables around the world. This versatile dish complements a wide range of meals and can stand alone as a hearty vegetarian option. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create the perfect scalloped potatoes that will have your taste buds singing.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Gruyère, or a blend)
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)
Step 1: Preheat and Prepare
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish to prevent sticking.
Step 2: Slice the Potatoes
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer, thinly slice the potatoes into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. This ensures even cooking.
Step 3: Prepare the Roux
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour to create a smooth paste called a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 4: Add Milk and Cream
- Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 5: Season and Add Flavor
- Stir in the minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and ground nutmeg (if using). These seasonings will infuse the sauce with flavor.
Step 6: Incorporate the Cheese
- Remove the saucepan from heat and gradually add the shredded cheese, stirring until it’s fully melted and incorporated. The cheese adds a creamy richness to the sauce.
Step 7: Layer the Potatoes
- Arrange a layer of sliced potatoes in the greased baking dish, slightly overlapping them. Pour a portion of the cheese sauce over the potatoes, ensuring even coverage.
- Repeat the layers until you’ve used all the potatoes and sauce. Finish with a layer of sauce on top.
Step 8: Bake
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Remove the foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to allow the top to brown.
Step 9: Garnish and Serve
- Once the scalloped potatoes are golden and bubbling, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Optionally, sprinkle fresh thyme leaves over the top for a burst of color and added flavor.
Step 10: Enjoy the Comforting Dish
- Serve the scalloped potatoes as a side dish alongside your favorite main course. They pair wonderfully with roasts, poultry, or even as a stand-alone vegetarian delight.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a delightful batch of scalloped potatoes! Their creamy, cheesy goodness and tender layers of potato are sure to be a hit at your table. Whether you’re sharing them at a family gathering or savoring them on a cozy evening, this classic comfort dish is bound to warm hearts and leave everyone asking for seconds. Happy cooking!