Tender slices of potato are layered with sautéed onions and cubes of ham in a rich and creamy cheese sauce and baked in the oven until bubbly and crisp.
There’s something so comforting about a big dish full of cheesy potatoes, right? I remember back when I was first starting out as a “grown up”, a fancy meal for me would be to cook Shake ‘n Bake pork chops and a box of Betty Crocker Au Gratin potatoes. Man oh man, I was living the high life! Well, I’m even more grown up now, and I not only make my own Shake ‘n Bake from scratch, but my recipe for Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham is better than any potatoes you could ever get from ole Betty. (Still love her, though.)
Pandemic Pantry tips: You can use ANY potato you want here and you can leave the peel on most of them if you are feeling lazy right now. And you are. (Just don’t leave the peel on russet potatoes! Their skin is tougher and therefore less yummy in this dish.)
Feel free to substitute any cheeses you want in the recipe. I used what I had in the refrigerator at the time, but how good would this be with fontina or brie cheese? You could even add a little funkiness with some blue cheese or extra creaminess with cream cheese! Use what you got, honey 😉
Ham or no ham, your choice, Maybe you wanna use bacon. Do it! Ooh, pulled pork would be amazing too! Or no meat, if that’s how you roll. This is a time of making it work and doing you. I approve 👍
- 2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced in half moons 1/8” thick (I use russet potatoes, but Yukon gold would be delicious too)
- 1/2 onion, cut the same as the potatoes, half rings 1/8” thick
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 oz ham, diced
- Some salt (read the whole recipe, it’ll make sense)
- 1 heaping cup (4 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 heaping cup (2 oz) shredded gruyère
- 1/2 heaping cup (2 oz) grated parmesan
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cup whole milk or half and half
- Parsley, for optional fanciness
- Preheat oven to 400°. Butter the inside of a 2 quart casserole dish. In a skillet, sauté the onions in one tbsp of butter until they are softened and just starting to brown on the edges. Place the onions on a plate. Layer half of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of your buttered casserole dish and season with a pinch of salt. There is plenty of salt in the cheesy sauce, but we season all the layers of our food, don’t we? Scatter half the onions on top, followed by half of the diced ham. Set it all aside for now.
- In the same skillet that you sautéed the onions, melt 3 tbsp of butter. Add 3 tbsp of flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. The texture will be like wet sand and the color will darken a bit. Continuing to whisk, pour in the milk or half and half and cook until the mixture has thickened and is just beginning to bubble. Turn off the heat and add in all but 1/4 cup of the cheese, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Reserve the rest of the cheese for later. Don’t pick at it. Stop it.
- Pour half of the cheese mixture over the top of your first potato, onion, and ham layer. Repeat with a second layer: potatoes, pinch of salt, onions, ham, and finally the cheese sauce. Cover the dish tightly with a piece of aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Uncover the dish and sprinkle with the last of the cheese that you definitely did not eat, and finish baking for 30 more minutes or until bubbly and browned and that piece of potato you stole (and waited to cool) is tender. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley if you’re feeling fancy. Allow to cool and settle down for about 15 minutes. Take some pictures of it and taunt friends and family with your piping hot cheese potatoes. Enjoy your superiority and your cheesy potatoes. 😎