I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve never made scalloped potatoes before today. Maybe that’s not that weird for most, but growing up my mother made them at least a few a month, and they’re one of my favorite side dishes. I wish I had my mother’s recipe, but she didn’t include that one in the family recipe book. (Also, apparently I’m too lazy to call her…) So, in what is generally an aberration for me, the girl who loves following recipes, I sort of winged it. Therefore, if there is a “correct” way to make scalloped potatoes, this probably isn’t it.
The potatoes turned out just how I like them thought luckily! Creamy, with a little bit of sauce. Cheesy and flavorful! And an easy complement to most main courses. What more could you ask for?
- 2 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, halved & sliced
- 3/4 cup stock (chicken, turkey, vegetable)
- 1/2 cup milk
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp flour
- 3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
- 6oz Pecorino cheese, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium-sized pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the the onions. Stir to coat in the butter. Top with a few turns of fresh ground black pepper.
- Saute the onions over the medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until they are just beginning to brown, roughly 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine milk, stock, paprika, salt, and remaining 1 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a very low simmer.
- Whisk the flour into the liquid mixture. Add the flour very slowly and whisk vigorously and continuously.
- Allow to simmer until the liquid has thickened slightly, and reduced by roughly half. This will take ~10 minutes.
- Butter the bottom an oven-safe dish. Then place half of the sliced potatoes in the dish. Top with all of the sauteed onions. Next, layer half of the cheese. Follow this with the remaining potatoes. Pour the liquid evenly over top of everything. Lastly, top of the dish with the remaining cheese.
- Cover tightly and place into the oven. After 45 minutes, remove the lid/foil. Bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes.
I come from of huge family. My mother has seven siblings, and my father has five. As of last count, I have FORTY first cousins, ranging from age 6 to 33. I haven’t the slightest clue how many extended relatives I have beyond that, but it’s a lot and I know many of them. But the best part of this ridiculously huge family (other than the fact that they’re family and I love them dearly), is that the vast majority of them are spectacular cooks. My grandmothers routinely presided over amazing holiday meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) that fed 50 to 75 people. When I think of different family members or different holidays, my mind immediately goes to particular dishes…
Granddaddy’s River donuts. Muzzie’s dip, the most iconic of them all. Grandmommy’s meatloaf, natles, and gravy. Jackie’s vinegary shrimp appetizer. Ann’s crab & egg dip. Dip o’clock at the Riv. Mo arriving at Thanksgiving with the fried turkey (to join the two other roasted ones and the ham). Peanut butter balls, that I think originated with Bobbie. Black Friday leftovers at Granddaddy & Gigi’s. Granddad’s incredibly alcoholic eggnog. Beth’s cakes & desserts. Grandmom’s sandwiches and cookies on Christmas morning. Lori’s punch. Muzzie & Bobbie’s rolls. Pickin’ crabs at the Riv. Martha’s spaghetti & meatballs. Grandmom’s beach breakfast. Lee’s egg sandwiches. That one time Ginny made amazing green beans, and she was more shocked than anyone else that people loved them. Townley’s bean & pasta soup. Shrimp night at the beach. Gigi’s oyster crackers. Ann and Lori’s crack saltines. Granddaddy’s cream chipped beef. My mother’s brownies. My mother’s chicken manicotti. My mother’s Oreo dessert. My mother’s meatballs & rice. My mother’s steak rolls. My mother’s kielbasa and potatoes. My mother’s cinnamon cookies. My mother’s poppyseed bread. My mother’s chex mix.
Wow. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I’m going to just leave that there. Hopefully it’ll inspire me to make more of our family recipes that I love. Which was the point I was originally trying to make. I have this cookbook of family recipes that my grandmothers, aunts, and mother put together for all of the grandchildren a few years ago. I want to use it more! One of my personal life goals. The word vomit above shows that I have a lot of work to do!
So tonight, I knew I wanted to make potatoes to go with our steak and broccoli. But I decided to peruse the family cookbook for inspiration instead of the internet, which is my go-to. I came across my mother’s recipe for roasted potatoes. It isn’t an epic, nostalgic dish like the ones that popped into my head above. But seems like a perfect place to start. I adjusted it very minimally, so hopefully they come out as good as she makes them. Nothing ever tastes as good as when your mom makes it though…
Mom’s Roasted Potatoes
- 1 1/2 lb of peeled & cubed potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp truffle salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 10 turns of black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix olive oil with the last four ingredients. Stir to combine well.
- Toss the potatoes with the oil mixture.
- Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes on a middle rack.
- After 45 minutes, turn the oven up to broil. Leave the potatoes on the middle/lower rack. Cook another 2-5 minutes (while watching!) under the broiler, until the edges crisp up.
Serves 2 as a side dish.
When I was in college, my younger sister found this ridiculous t-shirt with a cow and a pig dancing on the front that says, “I love carbs!” Which was made slightly less ridiculous, because I really, really do. I wore that shirt proudly 😉 I need to resurrect it to wear while whipping up these potatoes! I’ve seen recipes for smashed potatoes here and there and always thought they looked delicious. I mean, they’re basically a cross between a french fry and mashed potatoes. I think we can all objectively agree that those are two of the best foods in existence. Therefore, these potatoes must be the pinnacle of carb-y deliciousness.
Turns out, they were. We devoured them in about 2 minutes. They were just as I’d hoped they’d be… The outside crisped up under the high heat in the oven, but the inside remained soft. They really are an amazing cross between fries and mashed potatoes! These are quite versatile… We had them as a side dish tonight with some fish and broccoli. But they’d be perfect as an appetizer. I can definitely see them as a sit-in-front-of-the-football-game-on-tv munchie. And let’s be for real… I’d definitely eat a bunch of them as a full meal.
We’re already planning on new versions of this. Both Selim and I have several ideas each for new variations. I loved this version… the hot sauce isn’t enough that I’d qualify the dish as “spicy,” but is enough to have a great flavor. We’ll definitely be smashing potatoes again soon!
Hot Smashed Potatoes
- 10 petite potatoes
- 4tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Cooking spray
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes and 1tbsp of salt to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for ~20 minutes. You want the potatoes to be tender and mash-able, but not falling apart.
- Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray.
- Place your potatoes on the cookie sheet, leaving a fair amount of room between each potatoes. Using a potato masher, large serving fork, bottom of a jar/cup, or the palm of your hand (if you’re feeling tough & brave – they’re still pretty hot!), smash the potato flat. Don’t over-smash… you want them to stay in one piece.
- Melt your butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the hot sauce, garlic, and 2 turns of fresh ground black pepper.
- Brush a healthy layer of this mixture over top of the potatoes. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, flip the potatoes with a spatula, and re-brush the rest of the mixture over the other side of the potatoes. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with a little more Kosher as desired prior to serving.