Growing up, I can vividly remember scalloped potatoes as one of those dishes we had when family would come over or when my Dad would cook a big Sunday meal for everyone.
I loved the crisp, bubbling corners which I would pick at as we’d set the table and get ready for dinner. At the time, my Dad would often use a combination of fresh potatoes and the boxed scalloped potatoes although I’m not sure why. Knowing my father it was probably a way to try and save a few bucks and spread the meal a little further (even though potatoes are incredibly budget friendly).
This recipe, however, uses creamy Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted garlic, goat cheese and an easy bechamel sauce to create the most perfect comforting side dish. And don’t be concerned if you are unfamiliar with bechamel, it’s a common French sauce that I’'ll teach you to make in the recipe below.
Now, there is some debate and confusion on what classifies as scalloped potatoes and what can be classified as au gratin potatoes. Typically scalloped potatoes contain no cheese and are simply potatoes mixed in the bechamel while au gratin potatoes have a crispy topping of breadcrumbs or cheese. So, with both cheese INSIDE and ON TOP of the potatoes, I’m not sure what these should be called.
But frankly? I don’t really care what you call these but I am pretty sure they’ll be known as delicious!
Goat Cheese & Roasted Garlic SCALLOPED Potatoes
Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into 1/4” thick slices
2 large shallots, finely minced
6 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 heads of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
5 sprigs of thyme, stems removed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and butter a 9”x13” baking or casserole dish. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and gently bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat and keep warm over low heat.
2. To make the roasted garlic, slice the very bottom end off the whole head of garlic (not the root side). Be careful not to take too much, but enough that you see the inside of each clove. Place the heads of garlic, root side down, on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch salt. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cloves are tender yet not burnt. Remove and let cool.
3. While the garlic roasts, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the minced shallot and thyme. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the shallots are softened. Sprinkle the flour on top of the butter and shallot mixture. Use a whisk to combine and move around the pan. (NOTE: this basic butter (fat) and flour combination is known as a roux and is the building block for our bechamel sauce below).
4. Cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. The roux should remain white in color and not brown at all. After 2 minutes, pour in the warm milk while containing to whisk, maintaining a steady stream as you pour in the milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking frequently, for 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the remaining sea salt, black pepper and the pinch of nutmeg. Set aside on low heat while you prepare the cheese and potatoes.
5. Squeeze each of the roasted garlic cloves into a small bowl. Mash together with a fork before adding the softened goat cheese. Continue to mash with a fork until well incorporated.
6. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of your dish, slightly overlapping each piece. Using half of the goat cheese mixture, place bits all over the top of the potatoes. Pour half of the bechamel sauce over the potatoes. Continue this process again with the potatoes, cheese and sauce. Place a final layer of potatoes on top and press down lightly so that the sauce comes up slightly. Sprinkle the shredded gruyere on top.
7. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until bubbling and the top is crispy and golden brown. If the top begins to crisp too quickly, place foil on top.
8. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before garnishing with thyme leaves and serving.