Saturday, June 12, 2010

Recipe: Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

I had ham on the menu this week and got potatoes in my co-op basket so decided I wanted to make scalloped potatoes in the slow cooker. Now I will admit I normally just buy the box mix and "jazz" them up a bit with some extra touches.  Since I am trying to make more things from scratch decided to try a new recipe. I found my inspiration at A Year of Slow Cooking.  I highly recommend her book Make it Fast, Cook It Slow by the way. I didn't have all the ingredients and it was a little richer than I wanted for a family weeknight meal so this the recipe I came up with. 

Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes
Cook Time: 6-7 hours (low) or 3 hours (high)
Yield: 4-6 servings
8 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or 3-5 dashes hot sauce
pinch of nutmeg 

*Main Ingredients*
5-6 baking potatoes
1/2 onion chopped or 3 tablespoons dehydrated onions
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used pre-shredded Colby jack blend)

Directions:  Peel potatoes. I just did a quick peel of the potatoes so some skin was left on the potato for a little texture like Stephanie's recipe.  Slice potato in half lengthwise and then slice in 1/4in to 1/2 inch slices. If you need to leave in slow cooker longer make closer to 1/2 inch.  Put in the bottom of crock pot.  If using fresh or frozen onion put in slow cooker also.

In saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat.  Whisk in flour, making sure to constantly whisk for 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in the half and half and spices and stir until smooth.  It will not be very thick but will thicken as it cooks.  If you are using dehydrated onions add the onions to the sauce after you have taken off heat and stir in fully. 

Pour cream sauce over the potatoes, cover and turn on crock pot for 6-7 hours on low or 3 hours on high.  When potatoes are tender stir in 1 cup of cheese.  Allow cheese to melt and then serve.

Tips:  If you don't have hot sauce or nutmeg you can omit. I just find that hot sauce helps cut some of the richness of cream sauces and nutmeg is a classic addition to any cream sauce but don't feel like these are necessary.  If you don't have in your pantry - leave it out and it will still be good.  If you don't have half and half milk would work as well just won't be as rich. 

I had to leave in crockpot for 7 1/2 hours and my potatoes started to fall apart, especially because you have to stir when you add cheese. It still tastes great but not as pretty. If your potatoes are very tender I would suggest plating and then adding cheese to individual servings if you want the dish to be more "presentable." 

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