The hubby and I have been gone for a while, traipsing around Chicago and sampling the city's culinary delights. As with any trip, we arrived home tired and bloated from restaurant food. (In this case, stuffed with stuffed pizza.) We wanted to eat something comforting and far from the usual restaurant fare.
Enter Mom’s scalloped potatoes and ham. This is one of the few dishes my mom cooked while we were growing up, and she made it very well. (I think it was actually my dad’s mom’s recipe. Yippee! I have food lineage, after all!) This also was an instant hit with the hubby and his fam. My mother-in-law says it tastes a lot like hers, but without all the work.
The trick is … [drum roll] … cream of chicken soup. You heard. My grandma Gladys was quite the wiz with cream of chicken soup, and it makes an appearance in many of her recipes. I don’t care if it’s cheating. I hate making white sauce, and this tastes better, anyway.
You can use any kind of cooked ham, and leftover ham works very well. You can even use deli ham. Same with potatoes. We usually prefer red, but russets or Yukon Golds would work.
I highly recommend a mandolin slicer, even though the hubby usually does that part. (I exceed the limit for mandolin slicer-related scars.) But with that kind of help, we can toss this together in about 10 minutes. And then we spend the next 80 minutes staring into the oven and sniffing appreciatively.
Mom’s Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
4 lbs. potatoes, peeled
½-¾ lb. cooked ham
2 cans cream of chicken soup (low-fat is fine)
2 c. milk (skim works)
Salt and pepper to taste (usually a few tsp. salt and maybe a tsp. pepper; you can always add more later)
2 Tbsp. butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thinly slice the potatoes, either using a slicer or by hand. Be sure the slices are as uniform as possible so they cook evenly.
2. Chop your ham into whichever size pieces you prefer. As with most dishes, the hubby is particular about having human-sized pieces, not ham for giants. (We have this discussion often.)
3. In a medium bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, milk, salt, and pepper.
4. Add a bit of soup mixture to bottom of a small roasting pan. Alternate with layers of potatoes, ham, and soup mixture, topping with remaining soup mixture.