This year for Thanksgiving we made a turkey and a ham. Both turned out fabulous, and leftovers were gobbled up. But, after my husband’s family had gone home – I was left with the bottom portion of the ham shank. I remembered a dish that my mom always used to make with leftover ham. It was a recipe that her mom often made. I knew I wanted to try my hand at it with the remnants of the ham.
Her version included thinly sliced potatoes, layered with a thin sprinkling of flour and plenty of butter. Everything melds to a delicious mess, but I wanted to try my own spin on it. I looked up a couple of recipes, and decided on one that used a cream sauce. The original recipe didn’t call for ham, so of course I added that. I also have a surplus of frozen peas, (as I keep forgetting we have plenty, and end up buying yet another bag every other week at the grocery store) so I added some of those as well. I assembled the casserole mid-afternoon, and placed it in the refrigerator to keep until we were ready to bake it in the evening. I had our book club meeting that night, so Jon put it in the oven and baked it himself. Everyone enjoyed it, especially little Will. He devoured huge quantities of it for 3 nights in a row, until it was gone.
I always enjoy recipes that allow me to use my mandoline. But, if you don’t have one, the potatoes can easily be sliced thinly with a knife. Also, don’t be alarmed if the dish looks a bit liquid-ey when removed from the oven. After you let it cool for about 10 minutes, it thickens right up. This is the definition of comfort food to me, folks. Add this to your menu to add warmth to one of these cold winters nights!
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups milk
6 cups potatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups ham, diced
1 cup frozen peas
5 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place half of potatoes in a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Pour half of sauce over potatoes. Sprinkle the ham, as well as the peas, in an even layer over the sauce. Repeat layers. Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees F for 90 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is lightly browned. The last 5 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and sprinkle the cheddar cheese onto the top. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is browned on top.
Source: adapted from AllRecipes