School’s Out Scalloped Potatoes


 

We are always in need of a good side dish. Potatoes are cheap themselves which makes a good option, depending on the cost of the additional ingredients. This potato recipe had ingredients that we either already stock in our pantry, or were easy to find.

All the ingredients were prepped. Little Chef C was able to grate the cheese with this type of cheese grater very well.

 

We opted to only use 1/2 onion. The onion was peeled and then cut into fourths. The onion was diced with our now trusty chopper that was easily used by Little Chef C. The first few chops always require the most strength! She was able to do it and accomplish chopping the onion by herself! She was SO proud of this accomplishment!

The potatoes were next. Peeling is always a difficult task. I am constantly wincing, hoping she won’t cut herself. Little Chef C was trying her hardest to hold the potato while maneuvering the peeler and trying to keep it in her hand. Those potatoes are slippery! Luckily this time one did not end up in the garbage! We then got out the mandolin and I showed her how to use it, always with the guard. I thought it would be easy for her to use, but it proved to be semi difficult.  She tried to slice down but every other time it would get stuck and become immovable to her. In the end we did it together, my hand over her’s slicing the potatoes.

Next it was time to make the milk sauce, or at least that is what it is called in the recipe! The butter was easy to melt and then the addition of the onions to saute. Little Chef C thought it smelt “sooo good.”

Here is where Little Chef C ran into difficulty. The flour was added to make a “blond roux.” She thought it was hard to stir it all in, but eventually the flour wasn’t visible. She smelt it and said “you don’t really smell the onions.” I disagree. I could smell them.

The milk was then added in. Little Chef C said “it is kind of hard (to stir) and it keeps splashing.” Of course it will splash if you stir that quickly! Then she said “it is kind of like dough, its so sticky.” She was right. It did look like dough (we make bread quite often). It was so thick! I wasn’t sure what this consistency was supposed to be for this particular recipe, but from making other scalloped potato recipes I knew it should have been a liquid, not a mass. I read and reread the recipe, she did everything right even though something wasn’t right.  I was amazed Little Chef C KNEW something was wrong. I was so tempted to add more milk but then it wouldn’t be the same recipe. This experiment is about Little Chef’s making the recipe as called for, not my modifications. Hmmm I suppose I shouldn’t say that because we half the onions quite a bit. I felt that adding more milk was a major change and didn’t want to do that. We decided to continue on assuming this recipe would not turn out. The joy is in the journey!

Little Chef C layered the potatoes (she should have sliced more, 5 potatoes was not enough to cover each layer three times!), “milk sauce” (which ended up being dollups all over) and cheese in a dish, then popped it in the oven, covered.

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nbsp; Everyone tried the potatoes. It didn’t look very appetizing. The potatoes were turning brown because it takes a long time for my Little Chefs to cook! We avoided the “milk sauce” dollups. Two of the Little Chefs said they liked it. Unfortunately I can’t figure out why. I think they are afraid to hurt each other’s feelings.  Even when Dad gave it a major thumbs down they still gave it a thumbs up!

For my review, I should have read the reviews on the Food Network site before attempting this recipe. That is my normal process to choose a recipe and take the adaptions others have suggested. However, I believe recipes should be accurate in the first place. The reviews said there was too much flour or not enough milk. Either way the ratio is off. I had a slight hope that perhaps the “milk sauce” would melt in the oven and distribute, but….alas it did not. It came out just as it went in. To be fair though this recipe can only be judged on how it was written. I do want to make this again and decrease the amount of flour so that it actually is a milk sauce. In doing so, I believe we will have a change of opinion. One day this recipe will be revisited on Sunday Recipe Redo.

School’s Out Scalloped Potatoes

Robert Irvine

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour to make the dish gluten-free)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • White pepper
  • Dash salt (be careful because there is salt in the cheese)
  • 3/4 cup shredded white Cheddar
  • 4 to 5 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup finely sliced white parts scallions, for garnish
  • 1/8 cup bread crumbs for topping (omit for a gluten-free dish)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an oven-to-table baking dish with some of the butter.

Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan or small skillet and saute the onion until it becomes translucent. Gradually add the flour to make blond roux, then slowly add the milk and allow the mixture to thicken. Season with white pepper and just a dash of salt and remove from heat. (Be careful to avoid overdoing the salt, because there is salt in the cheese.)

Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the baking dish, followed by 1/3 of the milk sauce, and 1/4 cup of the shredded white Cheddar. Repeat the sequence twice for a total of 3 layers. You can top with the breadcrumbs before baking, but omit if making the dish gluten-free. Bake covered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, removing the cover for the last 10 minutes. (You can speed up the cooking time by pre-microwaving for 10 to 15 minutes before baking, or even par-boiling the potatoes.) The scalloped potatoes are done when the potatoes are tender. Let rest a few minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced scallions and bread crumbs.

All kids seem to love this dish (adults too). I keep this dish visually simple using only light colored ingredients, because kids seem to prefer it without green things (like the green parts of scallions), or black stuff (like ground pepper). However, you can jazz up the color if you like. In the episode, we topped this with bread crumbs – which you can do – but I keep the basic recipe gluten free.


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