From the Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food Cookbook
As I type, I am laying in bed at 8am watching a TiVo’d episode of Top Chef Seattle where they make Thanksgiving dinner. They’re at the judges table, and it’s looking like one of the contestants is going to go home for making crappy scalloped potatoes. Wait for it…..yup, eliminated. That makes me super sad, because no one should fail at scalloped potatoes (especially not a professional chef). They deserve to be delicious every time, and with this recipe I’m pretty sure they will be. They do require very thinly cut potatoes, and they do need to cook for quite a long time, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. Outside of those requirements, the potatoes, cream and cheese pretty much do all the work for you. So print this recipe out, pick up the short list of ingredients, and get on your way to winning the imaginary cooking contest show you pretend you’re on whenever you cook (you do pretend you’re on Top Chef every night, right???).
- 2/3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 2 large leeks)
- 2/3 tsp salt
- generous pinch of pepper
- 1.25 lbs baking potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick (a mandolin is your best bet, but if you’re good with a knife, go for it!)
- 2/3 cup cheddar cheese (we found a really good horseradish cheddar by Cabot at Jewel, but if you can’t find it, any sharp cheddar would be totally fine)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Spread 1/3 of the potato slices in an even layer in a small, buttered casserole dish. I think ours was about 7x4ish.
- Top potatoes with 1/4 of the salt and pepper mixture, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/2 of the leeks.
- Season again with 1/3 of the remaining salt and pepper mixture.
- Top with 1/2 of the remaining potato slices, 1/2 of the remaining cheese, all of the remaining leeks and 1/2 of the remaining salt and pepper mixture.
- Add the final layer of potatoes, cheese and salt and pepper mixture.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until is is gently simmering. Pour the hot cream over the potatoes.
- Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour.
- Remove the foil and continue baking 30-35 more minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving, so that it can set into pretty layers.