I have always wanted to love scalloped potatoes. Growing up, the ones I tasted – my mom’s, my aunts’ and others – were good, but not spectacular. Sometimes the onions didn’t seem to be cooked enough, sometimes the sauce was too thick, or sometimes there wasn’t enough sauce. I’ve tried many different recipes over the years, and tasted many prepared by others, but I just didn’t find a version that I truly craved. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I decided to overhaul my basic recipe, which was adequate but not awesome. The game changer? Cream cheese. Oh, yeah. Creamy, cheesy deliciousness makes these scalloped potatoes totally crave-able and no more difficult to prepare than the standard cheeseless version. You can make them in a larger casserole dish, or, for a prettier presentation, use smaller oven-safe dishes or ramekins.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (37 mL) flour
- 2 cups (500 mL) milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) each salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cream cheese
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) minced chives
- 1 pound (454 grams) potatoes (I like Russet or Yukon Gold)
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add flour and stir well as it cooks for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add milk, about 1/3 cup (75 mL) at a time, whisking well after each addition. The sauce should be smooth and will start to thicken as it cooks.
- Add salt and pepper and continue whisking, letting sauce cook for about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add mustard and whisk to blend, then add cream cheese and whisk as it melts. Do not worry if you can see some lumps of cheese; they will melt as the potatoes cook.
- Add the diced onion and cook the sauce for 3 minutes more. Stir in the minced chives and remove from heat while you prepare the potatoes.
- Scrub potatoes but don’t peel them. Slice thinly (1/4 inch or 6mm is ideal) using a sharp knife or mandoline.
- Lightly grease your casserole dish(es) with butter.
- Layer the potatoes in the dish, overlapping slices.
- Top each layer of potatoes with enough sauce to just cover them. Don’t worry that the sauce has become thick as it stands; it will thin out when baked.
- The casserole dish(es) can be covered tightly and refrigerated at this point for up to 48 hours before baking.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F.
- Cover the dish(es) tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes for a large dish, or 25 for smaller dishes.
- Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a sharp knife and the top is golden brown.
- Serve warm.