Cheesy Potato Casserole

Title: Cheesy Potato Casserole

From: Cook’s Illustrated


Serves 8 to 10

4 cloves garlic , 1 clove cut in half lengthwise, remaining cloves minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese or shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (4 to 5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 – 5 slices hearty white sandwich bread , crusts removed and torn into pieces (about 4 cups)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Use cut side of halved garlic to rub sides and bottom of 2-quart shallow baking or gratin dish. Allow garlic in dish to dry briefly, about 2 minutes, then coat dish with softened butter. Combine cheeses in small bowl.

2. Bring minced garlic, cream, broth, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in potatoes.

3. Spoon half of potato mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of cheese, add remaining potato mixture, and press with spatula to compact. Following photo, press bread pieces into casserole. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and continue baking until golden and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

This casserole can be assembled (leave off the bread) and refrigerated up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add bread topping and bake according to the recipe. If you’re cooking for a crowd, double the ingredients and use two baking dishes of similar size.

For an extra-crisp crust, press roughly torn pieces of sandwich bread into the casserole right before it goes into the oven.

The perfect scalloped potato casserole encases thin-sliced potatoes and a creamy sauce beneath a crisp, golden brown crust. Sounds easy enough, but scalloped potatoes rarely turn out so well. The sauce can be watery and curdled looking, or the potatoes may fail to cook through, leaving a hard middle. As for that golden crust, it’s nearly impossible to achieve. We wanted a foolproof recipe for this classic side dish. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

* Top the potatoes with pieces of torn sandwich bread. The bread topping absorbs the sauce and cheese and becomes far crisper than potatoes ever could.
* Blend heavy cream and chicken broth for a savory, not-too-rich sauce.
* Blend Swiss cheese and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle half in the middle of the casserole and the remainder on top. The Swiss cheese melts smoothly and the Parmesan adds valuable flavor.
* For the deepest flavor, liberally season the casserole with fresh thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

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Filed under casserole, cheese, cook's illustrated, dinner, main dish, potatoes, side dish

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