This potato and ham casserole makes a big batch that serves at least eight people. The casserole includes cheddar cheese and a basic white sauce, with chopped onion and bell pepper to provide color and extra flavor. It's also an excellent way to use leftover ham.
The casserole is easy enough to make for an everyday meal and special enough for a holiday dinner. Feel free to leave the ham out or reduce the amount and add an extra cup or two of potatoes and cheese. Use two 2-quart casseroles or a large lasagna pan for the dish.
Go ahead and leave the bell pepper out if you're not a fan, or use a combination of red and green or yellow bell peppers.
Waxy, low starch potatoes hold their shape better than high starch baking potatoes or russets. Choose red-skinned potatoes, round whites, or medium starch Yukon Gold potatoes.
Even if you aren't cooking for a crowd, baking the potatoes in two casserole dishes has its advantages. Consider freezing one of the baked casseroles for another day. Or scale the recipe down by half for one smaller casserole. This potato and ham casserole is another option.
- 3 pounds potatoes (preferably red-skinned, Yukon gold, or round white)
- 1 large onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 (4-ounce) stick butter (or margarine)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups milk
- 4 cups ham, diced
- 12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (3 cups)
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly.
- Peel the onion and chop it into 1/4-inch dice.
- Slice the bell pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, seeds, and ribs and cut it into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch dice.
- Butter two 2-quart casseroles or a large lasagna baking dish or pan.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, black pepper, and kosher salt. Cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the milk. Return the pan to heat and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
- In a very large bowl, combine the sauce with the ham, potatoes, cheese, onion, and bell pepper.
- Transfer to the prepared casserole dish(es). Cover with lid(s) or foil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil or lid and continue cooking for about 1 hour, or until golden brown and potatoes are tender.
- Let the potatoes cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
- To reheat, cover the casserole with foil and let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Heat in a preheated 325 F oven for about 30 minutes. Uncover the potatoes and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until hot. According to the USDA, the minimum safe temperature for leftovers is 165 F. Check with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the casserole to be sure.