Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

>> Friday, October 19, 2012

This is one of my absolutely favorite comfort foods ever. A good ham is proof that God loves us. I usually make this after serving a big ham for a holiday dinner, because there are always all those good bits and pieces left over, and this is so easy to make after a big fancy holiday meal.

If you don't happen to have cooked a big ham lately, you can use any kind of ham, from lunch meat slices to a can of Spam or a ham butt end. Joe recently brought home a butt (snicker) that our local grocery store had deeply reduced in price. After we sliced up a bunch for ham sandwiches, and cut out the bone for soup, I made a big casserole of scalloped potatoes and ham.

By the way, if you don't have any ham, or are on a very tight budget, the potatoes themselves are a filling and yummy meal or side dish on their own.

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion
1/3 cup chopped yellow pepper 
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flour
2 cups fat-free milk, heated
10 medium-sized red-skinned potatoes (I like the smooth, creamy texture of red potatoes for this recipe)
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups chopped ham
Cooking spray
2/3 cup bread crumbs


Directions

Peel and chop the onion. Melt the oil and butter together in a saucepan. Saute the onion and pepper together until tender. Add the garlic. Stir in the flour until it is moistened and sticks to the vegetable pieces. Pour in the hot milk and stir very well until smooth. You might need to whisk the mixture to get any flour lumps out. Allow to simmer.

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. Put them into a pot with the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer it until the potato slices are almost tender but still a little hard when you poke them with a fork. 

Drain the potatoes, and pour the cooking broth into the milk mixture. Heat the mixture to a boil and reduce heat and let it simmer about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, or until very thick like pudding or gravy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray or oil a 9x12" casserole pan. Spread a few spoonfuls of the white sauce in the bottom of the pan. Arrange 1/2 of the potatoes on top, then half of the ham. If you want to get artistic, you can arrange the potato circles in overlapping rows, or "scallops", which is one reason for the name of this recipe.

Pour half of the white sauce over this layer. Add another layer of potatoes and ham, and then pour the rest of the sauce on top. Make sure there is at least 1/2" rim above the food so that it won't boil over in the oven and make a mess. It's OK if you have to discard or freeze some leftover white sauce. There are a million things you can do with it.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the foil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top, then spray them with cooking spray. Cook for 10-20 minutes more, or until the potatoes are tender but not falling completely apart, and the breadcrumbs are nice and browned.

This is great with cooked peas or a fresh green salad.

Serves 6 - 8.

1 comments:

tuscany villas March 9, 2013 at 12:11 AM  

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