It has been a bit chilly, rainy and dreary here in Michigan this weekend ... and I'm not complaining! I adore fall ... and everything about this weekend feels like my favorite time of the year! In fact, even though I prefer living in the city, one thing I do like about living in the country is being able to get a bonfire going on a weekend night like this! And, that's just what we did earlier this evening after digging in to these delicious scalloped potatoes.
This recipe is my traditional go-to dish to make when we are craving scalloped potatoes and ham. I know that there are many versions out there. This is mine!
A sprinkling of cheese in my version really makes this extra-luxurious!
This recipe serves a large crowd ... we often have people stop over on the weekends (which is when I usually seem to make this recipe). And, we love leftovers of this, too! I actually think this is better the next day!
I would estimate that this will serve 10 - 12 people.
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups whole milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
7 - 8 pounds potatoes
1 1/2 cups ham (I prefer thinly-sliced deli ham that I cut up, but cubed will work, too)
1 onion, grated or very finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use cheddar or a co-jack blend)
Peel and rinse potatoes. Leave whole. Place potatoes in a large pot of COLD water. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes. You are only wanting to par-cook the potatoes at this point. They are done cooking at this stage when you can just stick a fork in them, but you don't want to cook them as long as you would for say, mashed potatoes.
Remove from heat and drain off water. Run cold water over potatoes just until they are cool to the touch. Do not allow potatoes to become cold.
Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick spray. Thinly slice potatoes and place them in slow cooker. Grate onion into the potatoes. Add the ham in with the potatoes. Sprinkle in 1 cup of the cheese.
In a large sauce pan set to medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Allow to cook for two minutes, whisking occasionally. One cup at a time, add in milk. Whisk consistently during this process. Once all of the milk is whisked in, allow to come to a slight bubble. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the soup. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Pour sauce into the slow cooker and gently stir to combine everything. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on the top.
Lid and allow to cook on high for 7 - 8 hours. If you find that you'd like the top a little browner or need the potatoes to thicken a bit, most slow cooker inserts can be placed in the oven. I often put mine in a 350 oven for about 15 - 20 minutes just prior to serving to achieve that lovely brown top we all love on the tops of casseroles. But, you don't have to do this.
Serve with some sliced scallions or chopped chives for garnish, if desired.