Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Potatoes and Ham Au Gratin

When I was in Minnesota this past weekend, my son asked for the recipe for scalloped potatoes and ham, (or Potatoes and Ham Au Gratin) a comfort food, easy to make and even good for leftovers. Let me tell you before I begin, I know there are as many recipes for this as there are for "Mom's Meatloaf". You may have your own favorite, but I was asked for mine...
Use 2 potatoes per person, I used 4 for the two of us. You can peel or slice thinly with the skins on. If you leave the skins on, be sure you scrub well before you slice them.

I put them in a casserole dish with plenty of room as they tend to bubble over during the baking process. I also spray the bottom of the dish with cooking spray to help the clean up process.

I put those little babies in the microwave while I slice the ham and get the sauce ready. It speeds up the cooking in the oven. For this recipe I put them in the microwave for 3 minutes.
Next, cut up the ham into 1" cubes. Use leftover ham if you have it, if not a ham steak like this works great.

The sauce is easy. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a saute pan. Chop about 2 Tablespoons of onion, if desired. Saute the onion in the butter.

Mix in a scant 1/4 cup of flour and allow to brown, but not burn. This is called a roux and will remove any "floury" taste in your sauce.
Stir in 1 1/2-2 cups of milk, stir to thicken over medium heat. This can scorch, so watch it! Stir in about a 2"x3" slice of Velveeta or American cheese. Cube this into smaller sizes so it melts easier. You can experiment with other cheeses, some do not melt as well.
Mix the cheese sauce, the ham chunks and the potato slices together. Add salt, pepper and whatever other spice blend you want to try out. A little Lawry's season salt is a good one.
Bake at 325 for 45 minutes to one hour.

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