Thursday, January 05, 2006

Weekend Cookbook Challenge: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

This is my second entry into the Weekend Cookbook Challenge. This month's challenge was to cook winter comfort food from a cookbook in your collection you don't use. I chose to make a classic dish that made good use of the left over ham from our Christmas dinner, scalloped potatoes with ham from The Fannie Flagg's Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook.

I love the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes". It is one of my top 10 Chick Flicks and one of the movies I watch over and over (with a box of tissues of course). It has the added bonus of staring four of my favourite actresses and the scene where Kathy Bates smashes the snotty girl's car in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot plays through my head every time I try to find parking at the World's Worst Grocery Store. My roomate from college knew "Fried Green Tomatoes" was one of my favorite movies and she gave me this cookbook for my birthday about 10 years ago but I have never cooked from it.

I've made scalloped potatoes from scratch before but my recipe is fussy and includes steps like scalding the milk and mixing the flour, salt, and pepper together and setting aside. This recipe was simple and resulted in a very creamy potatoes. Since the ham was a honey ham, there was hint of sweet that really made this a winning dish for a cold New England winter's night.

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham from the Whistle Stop Cafe

2 lbs russet potatoes
3 tablespoons bacon drippings
3 tablespoons margarine (I used butter)
1 tablespoon flour
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup minced ham

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Peel potatoes and cut into very thin slices. Melt together bacon drippings and margarine. Arrange a single layer of potatoes in bottom of baking dish. Spread some of the minced ham and then sprinkle flour, salt and pepper on top of the layer. Repeat layers using remaining ingredients except cream and milk. Pour cream over potatoes and ham; add milk, if necessary to barely cover potatoes and ham. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Uncover dish, raise oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until potatoes are browned. Serves 6.