Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

I love comfort food. It reminds me of the simmering pans on the stove or the bubbling pots in the oven my mother had cooking when I was little. I used to always get excited when she was making scalloped potatoes with ham. I did not grow up with much, and so I decided to tweak my mother's recipe and bring it current. This recipe will feed a lot of people. I also would suggest that if you can, plan ahead on this and let it rest afterward for an hour so the sauce can fully absorb back into the potatoes. Also, use sharp cheddar as it gives the dish the necessary flavor. You will not achieve it with milk cheddar or any other cheese. Regarding the milk, I have used half cream/half buttermilk, all buttermilk, half cream/half water.

10 medium potatoes - sliced thin
6 cups sliced ham - cubed
1 large onion - minced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
5 cups milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar - shredded

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the minced onion. Saute until onion becomes soft and then add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook until flour mixture is fully absorbed and begins to cook. Pour in milk, whisking regularly and cook until mixture becomes thick. Add cheese and whisk until incorporated. Mixture should be thick and creamy.

In a oven-proof pot with lid arrange a layer of sliced potatoes, then ham, and top with one cup of sauce. Repeat this three or four times until you have used all the potatoes and ham. Top with remaining sauce. There will be a lot on the top, but it will cook down in the oven. Place into an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees and back with the cover on for one hour. Remove top and back for another hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for one hour for sauce to absorb fully. Enjoy

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