Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I hesitate to even use the word "casserole" because I think so many tie it to the icky cream soup based recipes that are often a mainstay of family gatherings and potlucks. The original recipe called this "cheesy au gratin potatoes" but I always think of au gratin potatoes as thinly sliced potatoes... Some may even refer to it as "funeral potatoes."

Whatever you choose to call it, this is the cheesy potato dish that you want to bring to your next potluck meal. Or serve at Thanksgiving. Or make to go along with baked chicken simply because you're craving it - not that I would know anyone who would do that...

This is super easy and, as mentioned before, includes absolutely no cream soup. I cringed a little at the thought of topping a dish with cornflakes but just went with it and am so glad I did! It really needs that crunch on top and that was by far my favorite part.

We both loved it. It makes a huge amount (full 9x13 pan), which is total overkill for a family of two, but it would be perfect for a large family or gathering.

Cheesy Potato Casserole
Potatoes:
3 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
26-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns
1/2 cup light sour cream

Topping:
3 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and translucent,a bout 5-6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Combine the chicken broth and milk in a liquid measure and slowly whisk in the mixture. Add the salt, pepper and thyme. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheese until smooth. Mix in the frozen hash browns, lifting and folding the mixture until well combined. Finally, stir in the sour cream.

In a medium bowl, toss the lightly crushed cornflakes with the butter until evenly combined. Scoop out the potato mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish and top with the buttered cornflakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly around the edges. Let the potatoes rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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