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Monday, December 21, 2009

Lighter Scalloped Potatoes

This is another selection from the Cookbook of the Month, The Best Light Recipe.  I mainly picked this one since I knew we had an abundance of potatoes sitting in our pantry, and some fresh thyme leftover from a previous dish.  When it comes to fresh herbs, I like to be able to use every last sprig, especially in the winter when we have to buy them at the store and they tend to be on the expensive side.  Zach was excited for a chance to use our mandolin, which made awesomely thin, uniform potato slices.  I know, I know, that's the point of a mandolin, but it's one of those kitchen gadgets that sits way in the back of the cupboard above the fridge and we forget we have.  So, it was nice to break it out and use it.  We also added ham to the dish.  We just cubed up a ham steak and threw it into the sauce when we added the potatoes.

1 Medium onion . minced
1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Table salt
1 Medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon Minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon Ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 cups 2% milk
2 Bay leaves
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Water
3 tablespoons Light cream cheese
2 ounces Grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine the onion, oil, and salt in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the potatoes, milk, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until partially tender, and a fork can be slipped into a potato slice with some resistance, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Whisk the cornstarch and water together, then add to the pot and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, being careful not to break up the potatoes.

4. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-square baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the potatoes are completely tender, a fork can be slipped into the center of the dish without resistance, and the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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