Scalloped potatoes provide Barbara DeSerres “comfort food in an uncomfortable time.” Photo courtesy of Barbara DeSerres

“We have not been comfortable going to supermarkets during the pandemic. I order groceries online and have them delivered.  While it may not be possible to get exactly what I need for more elaborate recipes, the basics are consistently accessible and affordable. I have decided to revisit some classics that feature easily available ingredients. Comfort food in an uncomfortable time.”  — Barbara DeSerres, Portland

Scalloped Potatoes

(from The Joy of Cooking, 1997, page 319)

Preheat oven to 350.

Drop into boiling water:

3 cups pared, vey thinly sliced potatoes (about three medium sized)
1 teaspoon salt

Parboil about 8 minutes. Drain well.  Grease a 10-inch baking dish.

Place the potatoes in it in 3 layers, sprinkling each layer with flour and dotting with butter.

Use in all:

2 tablespoons flour
3-6 tablespoons butter

There are many tidbits you can put between the layers. Try:

1/4 c. finely chopped chives, onions or sweet peppers
12 anchovies or 3 slices minced crisp bacon
(My layer variations are 1 cup of baby spinach or 1 tin of sliced mushrooms and 1/2 pound ground beef crumbled and browned with 1/2 of a chopped yellow onion.)

Heat:

1 1/4 cup milk or cream

Season with:

1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
(My variation includes 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. I sprinkle salt, pepper, and nutmeg between the layers as I assemble the dish.)

Pour the hot milk over the potatoes. (At this point I top the dish with 1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese)

Bake about 35 minutes. Test for tenderness with a fork.


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