Ham and Potato Au Gratin (Casserole)
This is a wonderful creamy, cheesy, and hearty dish to serve. I love the combination of the salty ham, soft potatoes, and creamy cheeses. The nice thing about this dish is that it is perfect for when you have left over ham. You can also mix it up a bit and use any kind of cheese that you have in your home, as long as it tends to melt well. I like to serve this recipe with homemade bread so that you can sop up any left over cheese sauce that may be lingering on your plate. I often double this recipe as it freezes well. Any time you have any left over ham or potatoes around the house, I highly suggest trying this comforting dish!
The amount of potatoes and ham depend upon what you have for left overs, or what size casserole dish you want to fill. I usually judge the amount of ham and potato by filling up the dish with half of each and that usually works out perfect.
Cooked potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (I have left the skins on and it works fine too, just be sure to wash them well)
Cooked ham, cut into chunks
1 /4 teaspoon of minced garlic
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of milk (skim works well but any milk will do)
1 cup of shredded cheese (for this recipe I used a mixture of cheddar and smoked gouda)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Combine the potatoes and ham in an oven safe casserole dish and set aside.
In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and then add the minced garlic. Stir well all during this process so not to burn the sauce.
Stir in the flour until smooth.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. You can turn the heat up to medium at this point.
Add the shredded cheese and pepper and stir until the cheese is fully melted.
Pour the mixture over the potatoes and ham in the casserole dish and then fold gently to make sure the sauce coats the entire dish. I like to sprinkle a little extra shredded cheese over the top so that it browns nicely.
Bake in the oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and browned on the top. Serve hot alongside a vegetable dish (sautéed asparagus and mushrooms pair nicely) and freshly baked bread.