Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ham and potato casserole

I took dinner to a friend's family yesterday. Cheesy ham and potato casserole. It was so delicious! I don't want to forget to make this again so I'm adding the recipe and my notes to my blog:
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic (One clove would probably be sufficient. This was super garlicky but very tasty with two cloves)
4 tablespoons butter
Melt butter over medium heat in a big frying pan. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Try to not burn the garlic. Add:
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until flour and butter have formed a paste. Whisk in:
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2 cups milk and 1/2 cup chicken stock because I was 1/2 cup short on the milk.)
Stir constantly over medium/low heat until sauce is thickened. Add:
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese ( I used two slices of deli Swiss because that is what I had. I didn't chop it up - just laid it in the pan on top of the sauce. It melted in just fine.)
4 oz. Velveeta (I know it's fake cheese. It was an experiment.*)
Stir over very low heat until cheese is melted. Pour sauce over:
8 cups thinly sliced potatoes (I used Yukon Gold potatoes. I used a bunch of the little bitty ones that I had in my potato basket. I eyeballed the final measurement and may have used a few too many - my pans were very full.)
2 cups chopped/cubed ham
Pour into a greased casserole or baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (I used two 8 x 8 foil pans. It filled them a bit too full and they bubbled over while baking. Luckily I had them on a baking sheet in the oven but it was a hassle to scrub clean. Next time I should line the baking sheet with foil.)
I made this early in the morning and stored them in the fridge until it was time to bake them. I don't know about freezing raw potatoes but I will check into that and try some experiments to see if the quality is intact after freezing/thawing/baking. It would be really nice to have this ready to go in the freezer.
* I thought if I added some Velveeta it would make a smoother, creamier sauce. Whenever I bake something homemade with a milk sauce it curdles/separates. Homemade rice pudding, macaroni and cheese, ham and potato casserole, whatever. It doesn't affect the taste at all, it just doesn't look all that appetizing. Adding Velveeta to the recipe didn't work - the cheese sauce separated into a buttery fluid and small clumps of cheesy, white-ish particles just like all my baked white sauce dishes do. It did taste awesome still.


  1. Well, I read (or saw on TV) the way to make your cheese sauce so it doesn't separate/curdle. But of course, I don't remember the tip.

    I bought some Yukon Gold potatoes this week intendint to make potato salad. Now I can't decide.

  2. Curdling cheese is tough - but I think it has to do with the fat content in the cheese itself. We have found that the LOW fat cheeses melt better and have FAR less curdling events in our lives for now!