These scalloped potatoes were a hit on Easter Sunday with friends and family, so why not Thanksgiving? These are not your average scalloped potatoes as there are delicious caramelized onions layered in between the sliced potatoes and cheese. A lighter version can be made with milk and a béchamel sauce instead of the whipping cream, see directions at the end of the recipe. You can also double the recipe if you have lots of guests, making the potatoes in two 8 x 12-inch casseroles.
Thanksgiving 2020 Update:
I was a finalist in the 2013 recipe contest, “Your Best Potato Recipe,” with my recipe for Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions in 2013. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but the world is a very different place now. What hasn’t changed is my love for this comfort dish; seven years later, I still make it a few times a year. What has changed is who is at the dinner party or holiday meal.
The last time I made it was this past summer, for my husband and I plus two close friends of ours—it’s a favorite dish of theirs. We felt safe with them after not having invited anyone into the house in months, a bizarre reality. We’ve already had the conversation regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at our place and the email we will have to send out pre-arrival to confirm no one has symptoms of COVID-19, nor anyone they have had contact with recently.
Cooking and baking have always been a comfort to me, and I’ve been doing a lot more of it through the pandemic lockdown. In almost a desperate way we ran around to grocery stores finding ingredients like flour, sugar, and yeast to feed that comfort. Many others did the same, some baking for the first time, experiencing that neat feeling of accomplishment in the finished product and sharing it with their lockdown companions.
In times like this, the one constant we have is food. It’s a wonderful positive way to bring comfort to your loved ones with a familiar well-loved recipe or excitement in trying something new. How lucky are those who have just discovered this age old craft, a sweet positive during this trying time in the world. —Katheryn's Kitchen
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Katheryn’s Kitchen is a Food52-er from Canada who is new to the finalists' circle.
WHAT: A gratin you’ll want to make for every holiday dinner, and beyond.
HOW: Simmer, slice, then layer everything up, lasagna-style, and bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With an ingredients list so short, you won't be prepared for the elegant, distinguished, utterly incredible gratin that comes out of the oven. And after you take it out, we'd guard it if we were you -- our editors went at this with spoons straight out of the dish. —The Editors
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 2 hours 15 minutes
- Serves 6 to 8
crushed garlic cloves
large Spanish or yellow onion, thinly sliced
large Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 pounds), peeled
shredded Gruyere cheese
- In saucepan, bring cream, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, and salt to just under boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
- Heat your oven to 300° F.
- Meanwhile, in skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat and cook onion, stirring often, until light brown, about 45 minutes. Slice potatoes as thinly as possible (using a mandoline if available).
- Layer 1/4 of the potatoes in greased about 8 x 12-inch glass baking or casserole dish; top with 1/3 of the onion and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat twice. Top with remaining potatoes. Strain cream mixture over potatoes, shaking casserole to distribute evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake in 300°F oven on a baking sheet (to catch drips) until tender and a knife inserted into the dish pierces potatoes easily, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Make-ahead: Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat, tented with tin foil, in 375° F oven for 30 minutes.)
- Tip: For a lighter version, steep garlic, peppercorns, thyme, and salt in 2 cups of (500 mL) milk. Then make béchamel sauce: In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in strained milk mixture, and simmer everything for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour over potatoes.