This is straight up comfort food. Thinly sliced organic potatoes and chunks of ham in a rich, creamy sauce. Seasoned just right and using high quality organic ingredients makes this humble dish good enough for company! —Kristine Cocchiarella
Organic unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves chopped
Thinly sliced organic baby red potatoes
Ground white pepper
Rrganic hormone, antibiotic, nitrate and nitrite free ham cut into 1/4"chunks
Add sliced potatoes to a large pot of well salted water. Once water starts to boil, cook potatoes for about 3 minutes. You only want them partially cooked/softened. DO NOT cook them through or your dish will turn out mushy. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the shallots, stir to combine. Add a little salt and pepper and cook shallots until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the parsley, thyme and diced ham. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until ham is warmed through. Scrap ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return to medium heat. Add the 2 TB butter and melt. Once melted sprinkle in the 2 TB flour and whisk to combine. Cook the roux for about 2-3 minutes (lowering heat if necessary) to eliminate the raw flour taste.
Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, then turn the heat up to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Turn heat down to low and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the ham and onion mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat.
Butter 4 small ramekins, or a 2-Qt. casserole dish.
Take a spoonful of the sauce and put it in the bottom of each dish (this further prevents the taters from sticking).
Place a layer of potatoes on top of the sauce in each ramekin.
Continue layering potatoes and sauce until each ramekin or your 2-Qt. casserole dish is just about full. I stop about 1 inch below the rim.
Sprinkle on the cheese if using. Cover each dish or casserole with foil, place dishes on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of each dish comes out hot. If you sprinkled cheese on top, remove foil the last 10 minutes and return dishes to the oven to finish baking. Start checking the potatoes at 30 minutes of cooking.