Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

All the best foods are winter foods. Except ice cream.

My mom can be a stickler for having foods in the right season sometimes. You can't make any kind of soup in summer ever, and lemonade never popped up in the fridge if there was snow on the ground. Summer always kinda sucked, because again, all the best foods were winter foods. I would wait around until the first abnormally cold day in October of so, declare it to be winter, and beg for wild rice chowder, or this, heaven in a casserole dish.

Ham and scalloped potatoes. Magic. And for as rarely as we had it at home, surprisingly easy to make. I've just discovered that, having my own kitchen, I can make it whenever I darn well please. So I made it in February, on the coldest night of the year.

Super thick, super smokey, and super good!
The ham in this recipe is a little strange. You can't just use the stuff you put on a sandwich, we tried it once and it turned out gross. You have to get it from the deli. I get a smokey ham, despite being a sweet ham lover, it just doesn't work as well. Ask for a couple really thick slices. I tell them they're for a soup, that seems to make sense to everyone. How much you put in is up to you. My mom uses it as a garnish, and puts about a half a pound in. I think the ham is the best part, so I put closer to 2/3 to a full pound in. Whatever you're going for, it's up to you. You could probably even skip the ham and go veggie if you want!

This is almost a dummy recipe. The one hard part is being veeeery careful that the white sauce doesn't burn. Other than that, everything is easy, cheap, and fairly idiot-proof! Enjoy!

Pop it in the oven, and voila! Magic mush!

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 cups milk
3-4 large potatoes
1/2 white onion
1/2 -1 pound cubed ham
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour, and stir until dissolved. Immediately add milk. (Have it measured out and ready to go ahead of time! This burns fast!) Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick and just begins to bubble.
Finely slice potatoes with a mandolin into a casserole dish to create a thin layer. Add salt and pepper. Layer with sliced onion, a handful of cubed ham, and white sauce. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up. Cover, and bake at 350 for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are soft.

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