I grew up eating scalloped potatoes made with cream o’ mushroom soup and – I’ll admit it – loving every bite. But as my tastes and cooking skills have evolved, I have found there is a better way. Not to mention that lately I just don’t see any reason to eat the extra sodium and chemicals that come with most canned food if it can be avoided. So ditch the can, get out a saucepan, and spend an extra five minutes making a scrumptious cheese sauce to replace it. You won’t regret it!
For those of you not so keen on the veggies, or trying to disguise them for picky kiddos (or husbands), this is one of those recipes that I use to “hide” veggies. I added a layer of fresh spinach in this one. Don’t like spinach? Try a different green like kale, or chopped peppers, zucchini, eggplant, whatever!
This is a great vegetarian meal, but if you want to take it way over the top add some lean sausage or fresh franks to the top. I was lucky enough to score some lean, freshly-made spicy frankfurters last time I went to farmer’s market and they made a fine addition to this! Lip smackin’ good!
Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes
3 pounds potatoes (I used half small yukon gold potatoes and half baby red potatoes)
3 large spring onions
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan
Lean sausage or frankfurters (optional)
Slice potatoes in thin rounds. Chop spring onions (if you don’t have spring onions you can substitute leeks or regular onions). In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, dry mustard, cayenne, and black pepper. In a saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour mixture. When the butter is absorbed, gradually whisk in milk. Continue to cook and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk if it seems too thick.
In a large casserole dish, start with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with onions and generously drizzle with sauce. Repeat. After two potato layers, add all of the spinach in one layer. Top with at least one more potato-onion-sauce layers (I had enough ingredients for two more layers). End with sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375˚ for 1 hour. Remove foil. If you are using sausage or frankfurters, scatter over the top now. Either way, continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and top is browned.
In theory, you should let it sit for 10-15 minutes so it can set up and be cut into pretty wedges. But let’s face it, it smells so good that I usually cannot wait. So if you don’t let it set up, it will still taste great, but instead of a wedge it will look more like this: