My P.S. (Potato Slicer/hubby) called me at work late one afternoon and announced that dinner had just come out of the oven. I cautiously asked “And what is it?” He laughed and said he’d made scalloped potatoes and ham. Yes, he was using his manly “proud of myself” laugh, as my P.S. rarely mixes things together unless he’s making pancakes. Scalloped potatoes are a huge stretch for my meat, baked potato and veg making hubby. But he was justified in being proud; they were delicious!
We still joke about my last attempt to make scalloped potatoes and ham. We were bringing them for a birthday celebration to my inlaws, and I’d started them early at home. After 2 hours they were still rock hard and nowhere near done. We transported them across town to my inlaws oven and after cooking for 2 more hours they were still very firm. These were mutant potatoes that refused to soften! They were edible, barely. I swore I’d never make them again. And I haven’t. After my humiliation I found other ways to serve ham.
We had a large ham in the fridge to use and my P.S. decided it was time to carve it up into slices and chunks for better storing. And he wanted to clear off the bone somewhat so I can use it for making a pot of soup. Or so he hopes that I will take the hint.
He started by dicing up his ham and setting it aside. Then he peeled 4 large potates and used the mandolin to slice them thinly. This is probably where I fail as the mandolin and I aren’t friends and I just slice my potatoes with a knife. My potato slices probably don’t end up thin enough. But my P.S.’s potatoes were perfectly thin at the start.
Next he sauteed the sliced onions in butter in a pan while he made the sauce in another pan. When all were as he wanted, he layered the ingredients as directed into a buttered baking dish. He put the dish into the oven at 350 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes. He said he baked them 30 minutes longer, for a total of an hour and 15 minutes, when he was sure they were done. They were bubbling away and nicely browned on top.
These potatoes were so amazing, so rich, so wonderful! They were a cardiac arrest nightmare, dripping with butter and cheese, but we’ll ignore that this one time. It was treat night. And I also have to admit I realize these should be called au gratin, rather than scalloped potatoes. From a purist perspective, au gratin potatoes have cheese and scalloped potoates don’t have cheese. But to be fair, the recipe my P.S. followed on the Food Network site calls them ‘Scalloped Potatoes with Ham’, so we are honoring the original name.
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
12 ounces 1/4 inch sliced baked ham
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. When sauce has thickened remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a skillet, cook onions in melted butter until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread 1/3 of the white sauce in bottom of baking dish and top with half of the potatoes. Spread out half of the onions, ham, cheese And another third of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Continue layering ingredients, ending with the remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.