Have you ever had that moment when you realize you’re missing something? That Wow – I coulda had a V-8 moment? I’ve written a great deal about main Entrées and shared a few delicious dessert recipes here in my kitchen But what about the much over-looked side dish casseroles I’ve prepared over the years? Aren’t those worthy of a moment in the spot-light? Casserole side dishes are great for large gatherings or pot luck functions. Anything in a casserole will serve a number of people and travel really well.
I love this recipe for Au Gratin Potatoes. Whenever we’ve gotten together for Easter, be it with friends or family, one of the requests I’ve always gotten is “Bring those yummy cheese potatoes!” A close friend once told me the Holiday isn’t complete without them.
Hubby loves them whenever I make my Medley of Meatloaf American Style. The original recipe is one I found years ago in my now worn and tattered Betty Crocker Cookbook. You know the ones, with the red cloth binder cover. Those books are amazing, especially when you think about the fact that Betty isn’t real but her early recipes were very real, with real ingredients. These potatoes are no exception. Personally, I think it’s the chopped onions and crunchy golden top that make this potato casserole so popular.
Mema’s Au Gratin Potatoes
6 Medium Russet Potatoes (about 2 lbs) peeled and thinly sliced
¼ Cup Butter
1 Medium White onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 ½ Cups Milk
2 1/2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (½ cup reserved)
½ Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded*
½ Cup Fine Dry Bread Crumbs
Paprika for color
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Peel potatoes and slice into thin disks using a food processor or vegetable slicer. Cut enough potatoes to measure 4 cups. Place sliced potatoes into cold water until ready to use, then drain.
Heat butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions in hot butter until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly; remove from heat.
Stir in milk and 2 cups of the Cheddar cheese and all of the Monterrey Jack Cheese. Return to heat and cook until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Drain potatoes in a colander and shake to remove excess water. Spread potatoes in an ungreased 1 ½-quart casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour.
Mix remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and paprika (just enough for a nice color). Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top of potatoes and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly.
Let casserole rest about 10 minutes before serving to allow cheese sauce to thicken.