Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Au Gratin Potatoes and Ham

Who has leftover ham from Easter? I do! Well not from Easter exactly. I made a ham the week before, but we still had leftover ham. It's one of those things where there is always leftovers and it's some times hard to find out what to do with them. My dad's favorite, besides ham salad, is Au gratin potatoes and ham casserole. Casserole? Yeah I guess it could be called that. Basically it's a nice thick cheese sauce that covers and intermingles with sliced potatoes and some chopped up ham. I was actually surprised when my picky 2 year old decided to try it. Really though, is there anything that doesn't taste good covered in cheese? This version is lightened up as it uses 2% milk, instead of cream and only a few ounces of cheese. I also use thyme when I make this dish. I love the way it pairs with potatoes. So yummy!

What You Need:

1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 3)
1lb left over ham, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 c flour
2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
3 ounces cheddar cheese
3 ounces Gruyère cheese
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Wash and slice the potatoes into 1/8 inch slices. Place in a bowl of cold water to help remove some of the starch while you make the sauce.
In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the milk, flour, garlic powder, thyme, and some salt and pepper. Place over medium high heat and stir or whisk often until it thickens. Usually once it starts to boil it's super thick and thats what you want. Turn off the heat and stir in only 2 ounces of cheddar and 2 ounces of Gruyère until melted.
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Drain all the water from the potatoes and place half of them in the bottom of the dish. They don't need to be in any fancy design or anything, just make sure they are all separated from one another. Then add in the ham, and cover with about 1/2 the cheese sauce. Layer on the rest of the potatoes, again any way you want is fine.

Top with the remaining cheese sauce, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. After those 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and continue baking for another 30 minutes. The cheese on top will be browned and everything will be nice and bubbly.

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