When I first started dating AJ I asked him what his favorite food was and it was Scalloped Potatoes. I remember the scalloped potatoes that my mother used to make, by alternating layers of milk, flour and potatoes and baking until thick and bubbly. She flavored them with mustard and chives, salt and pepper and they quickly became comfort food for the whole family. The thing is, I knew this guy was used to the creamier version with cheese on top, he would usually get them on a weekly basis from the cafeteria-style lunch spot downstairs from our office. Also, I seriously JUST started dating him and wanted to make him something super delicious so I did a little thinking. I figured a creamy bechamel with loads of onions and garlic as well some traditional seasoning would really kick this up a notch. Needless to say I now make this atleast once a month, sometimes once a week.
- 6-8 medium-large potatoes washed and sliced thin
- 2 medium onions peeled and sliced into half moons
- 6 medium-large cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 1 litre of milk (maybe a little more, also you can sub in some cream if you are feeling extra dreamy)
- 1/4 butter, plus a bit for greasing the baking dish
- 2 tbp olive oil
- 1/4 white flour
- 1 tbsp each dried thyme and ground mustard (or use prepared Dijon mustard)
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of grated cheddar and chives, optional
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Clean and slice potatoes set aside. Slice onions and garlic and set out remaining ingredients.
Butter a 9″x13″ baking dish and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and season with some salt and pepper. Once onion mixture is soft, add flour and stir frequently until it just starts to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. Slowly stir in all milk/cream making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the flour into the milk to create a roux. Add ground mustard and granulated garlic, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Once the mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin cream sauce turn heat down to the lowest setting while you build your layers.
Overlap the potatoes slightly to create a layer that resemble scales on a fish. Ladle about 1/4 of the cream mixture, less if you have deeper baking dish and need to make more layers. Repeat the layers of potatoes and alternate with sauce until the dish is full and the sauce is gone. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
Grate about 2 cups of cheese. Remove potatoes from the oven and uncover. Sprinkle cheese evenly on top and place in the oven for another 10-20 minutes. Check the potatoes by piercing the thickest part, if the fork goes in and comes out with ease they are done. If the cheese has not browned, simply turn on the broiler but watch very closely it only take a minute or two.
Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving, they maintain the heat for a long time. If you want to switch it up add some nutmeg and cheese to the sauce for potatoes au gratin. You can also serve topped with chives for extra flavor and some needed color.