Scalloped Potatoes

serves 6 to 8

I love scalloped potatoes, but I have intentionally avoided preparing them as they are time consuming; you really need to plan ahead else dinner will be a late one.

My husband also loves scalloped potatoes and it has been a running joke between us that whenever asked what kind of potatoes he wants, he always says scalloped….and we laugh because we both know it wont happen.

This recipe from the NYT Cooking daily email caught my eye 100% because of the featured photo. It pulled me in enough to check out the ingredients and give it a read through. The recipe calls for tarragon, which I also like but don’t see many recipes calling for it. So, yummy picture, tarragon, garlic & heavy cream…I was sucked in.

Note: this does take about 1hr 35min cooking time, and about 15 minutes for prep, BUT you get three 15 minute intervals, one 10 minute interval, and one 40 minute interval to do, or prep, something else. Timing wise, plan to serve this with a main course that also needs a good chunk of cooking time. For me, I did baby-back ribs which take 80 minutes, with a side of haricot verts with ginger and garlic that take 10-15min.

Note #2: there is a lot of chatter in the comments section for this recipe on the NYT site around why the recipe calls for 3 cups of heavy cream during the sauce prep, but then uses only 3 TBL of the sauce for the baking. It seems such a shame to waste it. I agreed, so I used it all, but after going through the cooking, baking and eating, I think I “get it” now. You need all that cream for getting the potatoes tender during the 15 minutes they simmer on the stove top; they need to all be submerged in the cream. BUT, during the baking, you don’t need all that sauce; you want the potatoes to crisp up a tad and not be so soupy. Mine were soup but still good; just messy and not so well behaved on the plate. Next time I will follow the recipe precisely and report back.

As I typed in this recipe, I discovered that I skipped the last step of baking the potatoes for another 10 minutes, uncovered, to get them to brown. I was sooo ready for them to be done and it was getting late, lol.

  • 3 TBL butter, more for greasing baking dish
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium leak, white and light green parts only, minced
  • 4 small cipollini onions or 1 medium onion, finely chopped ← they did have these at MarketBasket
  • 2 TBL fresh tarragon, minced (or 1-to-2 tsp dried tarragon), plus 1 TBL finely chopped for garnish
  • 3 cups heavy cream ← you end up using only 3+ TBL in the end, don’t worry!
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced ⅛” thick ← I used my mandolin with the 3mm adaptor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat oven to 350 °
  • Butter a 9-inch deep glass baking dish
  • In a wide saucepan, combine 3 TBL butter, garlic, leak and onions
  • Place over medium-low heat and sauté until mixture is light and golden, about 15 minutes
  • Add 2 TBL tarragon, the cream and potatoes and mix well ← I wanted all potatoes submerged, so I ended up not using all the potato
  • Simmer gently until potatoes are barely tender, about 15 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste ← hard to advise here. I did a sprinkle of salt and pepper twice during this last 15 minutes. Right away after adding in the potatoes, and then again after the first time I shuffled the potatoes from top-to-bottom
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to the buttered baking dish, spreading them evenly and pressing lightly to compact them
  • Drizzle with 2 to 3 TBL of cream from pan
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes
  • Remove foil and continue to bake until top is light golden brown, about 10 minutes more ← I forgot to do this part, I was getting so ready for these to be done…next time!
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped tarragon
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