Friday, January 27, 2012
Ham and Potato Au Gratin
A saucepan or saute pan that can go from stovetop to oven, without cracking or burning it would be perfect here to save a pan. If you don't, prepare a separate, buttered casserole dish to put the mixture in before everything goes into the oven.
Ham and Potato Au Gratin
(adapted from http://articles.boston.com/2009-02-18/lifestyle/29258528_1_russet-potatoes-cream-mixture-ham)
Preheat over to 375*F.
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
a couple scrapes of a fresh nutmeg on a grater (or a pinch) of nutmeg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic from a jar (or 2 whole cloves garlic, minced)
pinch thyme (about 1/8th teaspoon)
3 or 4 Russet potatoes thinly sliced (about 1/8th inch thick)
1/4 onion thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 pound ham, diced
pepper to taste
8 ounces cheese (I used 4-Italian blend ~ mozzarella, provolone, Romano, Parmesan), divided
Start by putting the cream, milk, thyme, garlic and nutmeg in a medium sized saucepan or saute pan. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently for about 3 minutes. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.**
Add the ham and pepper to taste. Add the cheese (reserving a small handful for top the casserole) and stir well. If using a separate casserole dish, pour the mixture into the casserole. Otherwise cover your saucepan/saute pan with a piece of tinfoil and put in your preheated 375*F oven. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a thin, sharp knife.
Uncover the casserole and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the casserole and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese topping is a light golden brown.
**MY NOTES ~ When I saw the liquid to potato ratio in the pan, I panicked and thought I'd end up with potato soup, hence the fourth potato. I probably could have added a fifth potato and it would have been okay. The cheese and starchy potatoes thicken the sauce, so if it looks a little too milky at the end of cooking, I wouldn't hesitate to add a bit more cheese, grins.
I like ham, but I don't like a pound of ham in with 4 potatoes.
Cooking times are approximate. Depending on how thick or thin you slice your potatoes, you might not need to cook the potatoes on the stovetop for 15 minutes. I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes, so they were pretty thin so I only needed 10 minutes cooking time before they were fork tender. From there I put them in the oven and at the end of 35 minutes the dish was bubbly, hot, cheesy, and the potatoes were done.