Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scalloped potatoes with ham and onions

Debbie and I enjoyed a quite Christmas Day at home. Everything about the day was simple. Rainy weather dictated the day's activities would be conducted indoors. We slept in, read and watched holiday movies. A simple holiday meal capped the day.

Scalloped potatoes with ham and onions sounds more like a meal for leftover Christmas ham. Yet when we purchased a small smoked ham Sunday afternoon, I figured that it would make a nice meal when coupled with Sierra Gold potatoes. We also bought several heads of fresh broccoli and a pound of Brussels sprouts as well.

Heavy rain saturated our uncovered patio when I began cooking just after two o'clock in the afternoon. Since preparing the meal in a camp-style Dutch oven wasn't practical, the meal was cooked in a 10-1/2-inch skillet. Once the sauce was formed in the skillet, I stirred in the diced ham and potatoes and placed the skillet into a pre-heated oven.

Around 4 p.m., Debbie and I sat down to a meal of scalloped potatoes with ham and onions. Oven roasted broccoli with garlic and tossed romaine salad accompanied the meal. While the casserole became the centerpiece of our holiday meal, you can use it to use leftover Christmas ham. Enjoy and bon appitite!

Roasted broccoli with garlic and tossed green salad with fresh croutons from French bread accompanied the meal.

To prepare in a 12-inch camp-style Dutch oven, heat over a bed of coals or gas burner. Prepare recipe as directed. Bake in the Dutch oven with 9 coals under the oven and 18 on the lid.

I find that adding chicken stock to the sauce gives the potatoes a richer, more refined flavor, especially when you add one or two cheeses. While I used Parmesan cheese for the casserole, one or two ounces of Gruyere or Swiss cheese will certainly enhance its appeal.

4 tablespoons butter (2 ounces)
1 medium onion, sliced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups scaled milk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 ounces)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound smoked ham, diced
5 medium potatoes, diced (1 pound 4 ounces)

Melt butter in a 10-1/2-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sweat onions until soft and translucent. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk stock and milk into the onion-roux mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in ham and potatoes. Place skillet in 375-degree oven and bake until potatoes are soft, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and spread remaining Parmesan cheese over potatoes. Continue baking until cheese has lightly browned. Serves 6 to 8.

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