Saturday, September 29, 2007

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Last week creamy scalloped potatoes accompanied a grilled tri-tip roast for a fund raiser and silent auction in Pleasanton, California. The potatoes, along with spicy pink beans in a red sauce and the roast, formed the menu.

A mixed green salad, dressed with a vibrant line-cilantro vinaigrette, and Dutch oven peach crisp completed the meal.

Sixty generous alumni from Florida College enjoyed a great meal and raised over $1,800. The money will fund scholarships for students from Northern California.


This recipe will serve 50 (1/2-cup) portions from two 2-1/2-inch hotel pans. Fifteen pounds potatoes, as purchased, will yield about 12 pounds when peeled and sliced.

Always use a shallow dish for scalloped potatoes. Don't stack the potatoes many more than 1-/2 to 2 inches high. Otherwise, you'll end up with a crispy-brown top and undercooked potatoes inside.

To bake in a 14-inch Dutch oven, arrange 4 pounds sliced potatoes as instructed. Pour 1-2/3 quarts sauce over the potatoes and bake as directed. Bake with 8 charcoal briquettes under the oven and 20 on the lid. Extra coals may be needed during the last 15 minutes to hasten browning.

6 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces all-purpose flour
4 quarts whole milk
1 quart half-and-half
4 teaspoons salt
White pepper, to taste
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
2 bunches chives, chopped
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

15 pounds potatoes, as purchased
2 pounds onion, sliced thin

Heat butter in a heavy sauce pot over low heat. Add flour and make a white roux. Cool the roux slightly.

In another sauce pot, scald the milk. Gradually add roux, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and lightly simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

Add cheeses to sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add parsley and chives, stir and remove sauce from the heat.

Peel and eye the potatoes. Cut into 1/8-inch slices. Place 6 pounds potatoes (edible portion) in each buttered 2-1/2-inch hotel pan (2-1/2 x 12 x 20 inches), alternating potato layers with onion.

Pour 2-1/2 quarts sauce in each pan. Lift the potatoes slightly so that the sauce can run between the layers. Cover with foil and place each pan in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue baking until the top is browned and potatoes are tender. Total baking time will be about 1 hour. Each 2-1/2-inch hotel pan will serve 25 (1/2-cup) portions.

Recipe adapted from Professional Cooking, 4th edition.

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