This scalloped potato casserole includes diced ham and a basic white sauce with some onion, celery, and optional bell pepper. Half-and-half makes a rich sauce for the potatoes, while some fresh chopped parsley and optional bell pepper add some extra color.
Potatoes can be stubborn and sometimes take longer to become tender, especially when layered in a casserole. If you want to ensure the potatoes are done in the allotted time, consider blanching them in boiling water for a minute before you add them to the sauce mixture. See the tips below the recipe for details.
The cheese topping is optional, but it does add some nice flavor. Or, as an alternative, uncover the potatoes sprinkle them with buttered toasted breadcrumbs 10 to 15 minutes before you remove the casserole from the oven.
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes
- 2 cups diced cooked ham
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
- Optional: 1/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (or chopped chives)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Optional: 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter is hot, add the chopped onion and celery; cook until tender, stirring constantly.
- Add bell pepper (if using) and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Gradually add half-and-half to the flour and butter mixture while stirring constantly. Add the ground mustard, pepper, parsley or chives, and salt, to taste. Continue cooking, stirring, until thickened.
- Add sliced potatoes and diced ham to the sauce mixture and stir to combine.
- Transfer the potato mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until the potatoes are tender.
- If desired, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole and bake for a few minutes longer, or until the cheese has melted.
To shorten the cooking time and ensure that the potatoes are tender, blanch them in boiling water first. Peel and slice the potatoes. Put them in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil and continue cooking for 1 minute. Don't cook any longer than that or they could begin to fall apart. Drain the potatoes immediately and add them to the prepared baking dish along with the ham and sauce mixture. Bake as directed.