Is there anything that isn’t delicious with a white sauce? And when you throw ham, potatoes and cheese with it, really, how can you go wrong? This is a classic home-cooked meal to fill up on after a busy day.
You could also make it ahead and bake it later.
Below I’ve added a note to make this gluten-free / grain-free!
- The night before, or at least 7 hours ahead, clean, slice, and soak 6 potatoes in a bowl full of filtered water and about a half cup of whey. (Where to get whey.) This takes away of some of the starch in the potatoes. I used my Bosch to slice the potatoes nice and thin – it helped them to cook a lot faster in the oven, and they got crispy-licious. It took *literally* 2 minutes to slice 10 potatoes! I’m going to use this soon to make homemade potato chips again, yum!
- I had a bone-in ham steak (find pastured meats here), so cut the ham into pieces (reserve for later) and then brown the bone on both sides, add it to a pan half-full of water and a splash of raw apple cider vinegar (this draws more minerals out of the bone) and then cook for 2-6 hours or so. I boiled it down to about a cup.
- Time to make a white sauce:
- Melt 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan on low-medium heat.
- Add 1/2 of a finely chopped onion, cook ’til light brown.
- Add 7 T. of flour (I used Einkorn flour but also sometimes use part sprouted flour) and stir well with a whisk – cook on low for a couple minutes, being careful not to let it burn. (To make this gluten free/grain free – substitute the flour with 4 T. sorghum flour and 4 T. brown rice flour - it will be almost as yummy and likely your family won’t know the difference!)
- Add 1 cup ham broth, and cook on low heat while stirring constantly.
- As it thickens again, add 3 cups cream or milk, or a combination, whatever you have on hand.
- Optional: add a couple handfuls of shredded cheese (any kind you like) to make it a cheesy sauce.
- Keep stirring and keep it on low or it sticks and can burn to the bottom of the pan easily.
- Add seasonings to your taste. We like plenty of sea salt, pepper, and a dash or two of garlic powder. Taste-test to get this right – if you do, it’ll make the whole thing perfect.
- Strain and rinse the potatoes, rinse out the bowl, and in this big bowl, stir together the potatoes, ham and sauce.
- Spoon into a greased 9×13 glass dish.
- How you bake this depends… If you want to just put it in the oven and forget about it, put it in at 350* for an hour, maybe more depending on how thin you sliced your potatoes and how fast they cook – check to make sure they’re done through. If you like it browned up really well and crispy in spots like I do, then crank your oven up to 500* and keep a good eye on it. It’ll get brown on top fast, so stay close and you’ll need to flip potatoes under or over so nothing burns, but this way it’ll have a nice flavorful crispiness and be done in 45 minutes to an hour.
Is this how you make your escalloped potatoes? (Or ‘cheesy potatoes’?)