While making scalloped potatoes yesterday, I wanted to find a way to use the carrots from our garden I had picked that morning.
If they had been larger, I would have just sliced them thin and layered them with the potatoes, but these were on the small side.
So I got creative.
Here is how I ended up making the the scalloped potatoes.
For the cheese sauce, I used 1 medium onion, sliced thin, butter, flour, seasonings, whipping cream and cheese.
We already had old cheddar and grated Parmesan in the fridge. I also picked up a cheese that has recently showed up in local stores that is just awesome. BellaVitano Reserve. We’ve tried the three different varieties we have available, and I picked up Tennessee Whiskey this time. They have an Espresso one that it really good, too. I shredded this, plus the cheddar, and mixed it all together with some grated Parmesan. I used most of it in the sauce, saving some for later.
For the seasonings, I used mushroom salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder and paprika. For the liquid, I like to use whipping cream, but it can be made with milk or a lighter cream, though why anyone would want to, I don’t know. 😉
To make the sauce, the onion first gets slowly cooked in about a tablespoon of butter until soft. Then, a couple more tablespoons of butter is added. When that’s melted and bubbling, the flour (about 2 tablespoons) is added and cooked, stirring constantly with a whisk, for maybe a minute. Then 2 cups of room temperature cream is added, little by little, with pauses to whisk it smooth. For the first while, the flour thickens the cream very quickly. After all the cream is added, the sauce is simmered, while constantly stirred with a whisk, until it is slightly thickened. Then the seasonings are mixed in. Finally, the heat is turned off, then the shredded cheese mixture is stirred in until melted. After tasting to see if the seasonings need adjusting, it is set aside.
For the rest of it, I had potatoes peeled and sliced thin and the carrots were peeled and shredded. I didn’t count how many potatoes I used. They were on the small side, so it was probably around a dozen. The shredded carrots made about 3 cups, loosely packed.
In a buttered baking dish, I put a layer of potato slices, topped it with 1/3rd of the shredded carrots, then added 1/4th of the onion and cheese sauce. This was repeated two more times, then the top layer was just potatoes and the last of the sauce.
It then went into a 350F oven for about 40 minutes.
Shortly before the time was up, I took a ring of Polish sausage and cut it into slices. The slices were then laid on the top of the potatoes.
I hadn’t originally planned to use the sausage, but I happened to have it, so why not? 🙂
I did have some concerns at this point. We’re still getting used to the new stove, and haven’t used the oven much at all in this heat. When stabbing the potatoes with a fork before adding the sausage, they were still surprisingly hard. I had forgotten to cover it with foil at first, so that might be why.
I covered with foil at this point, but it really should have been added right from the start.
With the sausage on the top, I put them in for another 10 minutes. Most recipes for scalloped potatoes that I’ve seen say to bake for 40-50 minutes, and I was shooting for 50 minutes in total. After that, I added the rest of the cheese mixture on top.
Back in the oven it went, though without the foil. I didn’t want the cheese to stick to it. I then baked it until fork tender.
It ended up taking a lot longer to cook than I expected.
Also, handy hint. Put the pan on top of a baking sheet, in case the sauce bubbles over.
We’ll be testing out the oven’s self cleaning function, next…
When it was fork tender, I took it out and topped it with chopped parsley I’d picked from our garden that morning.
This was quite an experiment from how I usually make scalloped potatoes. They are usually just the potatoes and onion-cheese sauce, these days. I was very curious as to how the carrots worked.
They pretty much disappeared!
I used some of each type of carrot we have; white satin, rainbow (orange, pale yellow, and white), and deep purple. The purple carrots left colour on the potatoes, but with them being shredded, and such a long cooking time, they all pretty much disintegrated and disappeared into the sauce. I could taste a hint of their sweetness, but that was it.
I would definitely be up to including them again.
The addition of sausage… well, you can’t go wrong with adding kielbasa!
The cheese mixture worked really well, too. That Tennessee Whiskey cheese added to the flavour, but did not overpower.
All in all, this was quite a success!