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Homemade Scalloped Potatoes (And a Surprise)

April 25, 2014

ScallopedPotatoes1 (2)

It’s almost time to plant potatoes here and I’m happily trying to use up potatoes left from last year. We had buried a bushel of potatoes in the garden for over winter and recently retrieved them and they were in great shape: firm and no eyes on them yet and perfect.

So for a potluck at work, I planned to take a huge dish of scalloped potatoes. I got two bonuses out of the effort (no, not the money kind). And scalloped potatoes do take some effort, especially slicing the potatoes.

It had been years, YEARS since I tried to make a decent dish of scalloped potatoes, usually resorting to the boxed kind because they are so easy and usually great. My children and husband were never big fans of this type of potatoes so I usually just made them when I got really hungry for them or as a dish for a potluck somewhere.

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My mom has an old tool she used for making thinly sliced potatoes, a grater of sorts with a row of blades perfect for the job. But I don’t have one, rarely needing one. So for this dish I alternated between using a chopping knife and a paring knife, trying to decide which was faster. In all it took me about a half hour to prepare the dish. Worth it in the end, but not as quick as a box.

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This is slightly adapted from Thelma H. Maust’s recipe in Mennonite Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley (Good Books), and it is a keeper, with the first four ingredients as the basis for any white sauce.

Scalloped Potatoes

6 Tablespoons butter (or margarine)
6 Tablespoons flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups milk
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheese
6 cups thinly sliced or grated raw potatoes
3 Tablespoons onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

1. Slice potatoes, grate cheese.

P10503942. In saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour and salt. Keep on heat and gradually stir in milk. Continue stirring until sauce thickens and becomes smooth. Stir almost constantly to keep from scorching.

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3. Gradually add cheese, stirring until mixed in thoroughly and melted.

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4. Layer half of potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and sauce into greased 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Repeat layers.

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5. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. (I put a bit of the grated cheese on top).

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6. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes due to thickness of some of the potatoes, and I had to up the temperature to about 400 for the last 15.

The surprise. I took one taste of the sauce with the cheese melted in and I said to myself (or my cats): Broccoli soup! I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to try making the white sauce part and adding ingredients for broccoli soup the next day. More about that next week. The other bonus was I had enough left over (there was plenty of food at the potluck) to serve my family who had all come home for a big photo shoot with a professional photographer (more about that next week too). I knew the scalloped potatoes were a hit with the family when that dish got gobbled up and one son-in-law, quietly in his understated way, said something like “I wouldn’t mind more scalloped potatoes.” Um yum. (Below, my very last serving in a ramekin. Good to the last time.)

ScallopedPotatoes1 (2)

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Do you grow potatoes? By what date do you try to get your potatoes planted? Do you buy seed potatoes or use old potatoes from last year?

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What are you favorite variations on scalloped potatoes? What do you add?

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There are plenty of other good recipes from Shenandoah Valley Mennonite cooks in my recipe book, Whatever Happened to Dinner: Recipes and Reflections for Family Dinner.

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11 Comments
  1. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    I have never really made scalloped potaotes that often through the years but this recipe sounds very good and I will keep it handy in case I get ambitious , It isn’t unlike what I used to make though..

    These days as there are just the two of us, I too resort to the boxed kind.

    Would you beleive after all these years I never realized that I had the tool on the side of my old grater (circa 1956) that could be used to slice the potaoes that way!

    • I kept thinking I ought to have a tool with a slicer on it too, but didn’t come up with any.

      For two people the boxed kind works!

      • Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

        I actually have about 4 boxes on hand in the cupboard at this time

        I actually had to buy a new grater as my old one, with the slicer, has not appeared in the boxes yet to be unpacked for our last move!

  2. I have always found scalloped potatoes a lovely compliment to Easter ham dinners – and of course a hearty dish especially in winter.

  3. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    That reminded me that my mother in law always made them with ham (They were good too!) and so now does my sister in law.
    I actually think my own mum did too.
    Funny how things come back to you when you hear somthing else on the subject that jogs another memory!

  4. You are right about the memory jogging once you start down that path. Sometimes when I ponder what I’ll write next about, I open one of my many folders, especially one called “Weird to keep but interesting” and there’s a rich idea waiting for exploration.

    Or maybe just for those of us over 60. So be it. My husband looked at me last night over a quick dinner out and said “I can’t believe you’re over 60.” I think he said it in a complimentary way. 🙂 I can deal with it.

  5. Athanasia permalink

    We only make scalloped potatoes after we have ham and then make scalloped potatoes and ham. I don’t make a white sauce though, I just alternate layers of potatoes, onions, flour, butter, ham, salt and pepper and then pour milk over all. Seal tightly and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover to get crispy on top. This is our family recipe.

    We don’t grow potatoes ourselves as they are very cheap here in fall and can be found 100 pound bags for $10-$12 at farm stands. We put 300 pounds in our root cellar in fall.
    Red potatoes are more, $12-$15 per pound. My oldest daughter who has taken over our gardens this year wants to start with a small plot of potatoes though.

    It’s too early to plant yet as the ground is still too cold. Peas can direct sow soon, but plants go in around Memorial Day weekend.

    • Athanasia permalink

      That is $12-$15 per 100 pound bag, in case any one noticed.

  6. !! I did wonder what that calculates out to so thanks for doing the math! I read it earlier but am only getting back to time on the computer now. Pretty cheap eating. And so good so many ways. So you are way North by your description. Enjoying a full crop of tulips and grape hyacinths here, they are late but wonderful.

    I love your way of making scalloped potatoes, sounds much easier. I’ll have to give that a try too. That’s the way we make our macaroni and cheese–just assembling it all in the baking dish. Works! Thanks for sharing that.

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