Scalloped Potatoes are the Mother of All Comfort Foods


meatloaf_scalloped_potatoes_IMG_1221_690pxScalloped potatoes are one of my family’s favorite winter comfort foods. They pair very nicely with my meatloaf. They both cook at the same temperature. The potatoes go into the oven first because they cook 90 minutes and then I assemble the meatloaf and it goes into the oven for an hour. I time it so they are done at the same time. I serve them together with either a green vegetable or a salad. It’s heaven on a plate!

For the meatloaf recipe, please see my blog post: “Best Ever Meatloaf.”

I can’t even begin to tell you how old this scalloped potatoes recipe is. I know it dates back to at least my grandmother and hasn’t really changed at all over the years. I use black pepper in the béchamel (white sauce) and, technically, you should use white pepper, but this is the way my mother and grandmother made it and that’s how I make it. Feel free to try it both ways and use whichever you like best.

I think scalloped potatoes are the comfort food of all comfort foods. It’s a savory dish with just a little sweetness from the creamy white sauce. The top gets brown and just a little crusty. It’s smooth and creamy. I could probably go on for days!

For last fall’s pioneering weekend, I really wanted some comfort foods because the weather was going to be cold and rainy. I was also curious about how the scalloped potatoes would perform in a Dutch oven and they did not disappoint.

I made them a little differently in camp. At home, I make the béchamel on the stove top. In a 2-quart casserole dish, I build 2-3 layers of potatoes, sauce, parsley, and bits of butter. In camp, I wanted to make this as a one-pot dish so I actually made the béchamel in the Dutch oven and then dumped in the potatoes and pushed them down into the sauce. It worked!

Below is the camp version, but you could easily adapt it back into your home kitchen if you wanted to.

12-inch Dutch oven, cutting board, knife, measuring spoons and cups.

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups whole milk or heavy cream
4 cups of potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 1/8-inch ish thick)
¼ cup parsley, dried or fresh, chopped (this measurement is just a guess on my part because I just eyeball it)
1-3 tablespoons extra butter, cubed, for dotting onto the top

Peal and slice the potatoes. I slice mine pretty thin (about 1/8-inch ish thick). You could do this at home and load them into a resealable bag. Start 21 coals. In the Dutch oven, using coals or a camp stove, melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk or cream. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently until sauce becomes smooth and creamy. Stir in a generous amount of chopped or dried parsley. Drop in the sliced potatoes and push down into the sauce until they are all covered. Dot the top with the extra butter. Bake at 350°F, using 14 coals on the lid and 7 underneath, for 90 minutes. Refresh coals as needed.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Categories: Dutch Oven, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Scalloped Potatoes are the Mother of All Comfort Foods

  1. What a great idea to pair the scalloped potatoes with the meatloaf. Putting this on my next meal list. It has been forever since I made scalloped potatoes. Thank you

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