Ain’t Skeered!

In law school, a friend of mine was from Texas. She loves Texas, but never seemed to have an accent, the way some Texans do. Apparently her brother picked one up, and I don’t even know what the story entailed, but the punchline was that he responded with “Ain’t Skeered!” Well, that is how I feel about these.
I love scalloped/au gratin potatoes. The idea of thinly sliced potatoes coated in cream and butter and topped with a little cheese sends me into a tailspin. But seriously? Me and a knife trying to get potatoes sliced evenly and thin? NO WAY!
I’d like to take a moment to thank my husband for my Christmas present this year. It started out as a Costco version, but we returned it and replaced it for a higher rated version from Amazon. Thanks for not being offended by my switch, love. It has instilled courage in me to try new things.
Like scalloped potatoes. And they are delicious. And they are thin and creamy and cheesy. Next time I will look a little harder at my V-slicer and use the thinner blade. Don’t get me wrong, the thick ones were good, but the thin ones would take me to the gourmet level. I might even start getting a little street cred. But then again, probably not.
Scalloped Potatoes
from the America’s Test Kitchen

2 T unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 T minced fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4+ ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 c.)

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-square baking dish (or equivalent). Gently press the potatoes into an even layer and sprinkle the cheddar over the top. Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead (what we did):
Once the scalloped potatoes have been transferred ot the baking dish and pressed into an even layer in step 2, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add the cheese, cover with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheddar begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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