Not only are rich scalloped potatoes easy to make, but they go with everything from a weeknight roast chicken to a Sunday roast beef. The key to this classic comfort food recipe is starting with waxy Yukon Gold potatoes and slicing them thinly and uniformly. Equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk result in the perfect tender texture and creamy consistency. Resist the urge to use lighter versions of either ingredient if it’s the real thing you’re after.
If you’re going to use a mandoline to slice the potatoes, be sure to watch our video for tips on applying even and consistent pressure while running your potato over the blade.
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Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart (9x13x2-inch) baking dish.
In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, whisk the cream, milk, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, 2-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and then remove from the heat and let cool in the pan to room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup.
Arrange about a third of the potatoes in an overlapping layer in the baking dish. Give the cream mixture a quick whisk and pour about a third of it over the potatoes. Repeat twice more with the remaining potatoes and cream mixture. Dot the butter over the top and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and heat the broiler on high. Uncover the potatoes and gently press them down with a flat spatula so the cream mixture mostly covers them. Broil until nicely browned on top, 5 to 8 minutes. Let the potatoes rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
The dish can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Let sit at room temperature while the oven heats. You can keep the cooked scalloped potatoes, covered, in a warm oven for up to 1 hour before serving.
These potatoes are magical. The photo in the recipe does not do them justice. The cream steeped in garlic/thyme/nutmeg is so yummy! Next time I need to start much earlier, because cooling to room temp took a long time (maybe I can do that the night before?). If using a mandolin, remember to "wet the runway" to make slicing easier. While I thought the cream was still too liquid when the potatoes were done, time under the broiler really changed that. I added 8 oz of grated Swiss cheese to the layers, and reserved a couple ounces for the finishing touch on top, near the end of the broiling. The final rest period after the oven was welcome, too, as there is enough to do right before service. I'll never forget the look on my teenage guest's face when he had his first taste of these potatoes: one of those looks that reminds us exactly why we cook!
I made these potatoes tonight and they were delicious. My family loved them and the flavour, even after straining was so nice. So creamy. The only problem that I had is that there was too much liquid. Not sure what I did wrong. Perhaps I should have simmered the cream mixture on the stove a bit longer.
Easy and delicious, even with a few changes out of necessity. I only had 3 pounds of russet potatoes, just under 1 cup of heavy cream (the rest whole milk), and I did not have time to let the liquid mixture cool to room temperature. The end result was nonetheless absolutely delicious!
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