Sometimes my best recipes come about as the result of substitutions and this is a great example. These Garlic Jack Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme came about because I had no cheddar cheese and now I will never go back!
I know, it’s been awhile. I took a much needed break for a week and a half and I know I really should be sharing a nice, low calorie salad with you today; it’s what we all do in January right? But I have to punt and instead give you this recipe for what are arguably some of the best potatoes I have EVER had.
It came about simply enough. My children are grown and live on opposite coasts (and seriously that is just WRONG!). But I digress…neither were coming home for Christmas so I accepted an invitation to join my neighbors for shrimp and salad on Christmas Eve. Of course I offered to bring something and I spied potatoes in my pantry while on the phone with Amy so suggested a potato dish and she thought that perfect.
I keep a pretty well stocked pantry and fridge so of course I expected to find what I needed when I got down to it the next day. I was wrong. There not only wasn’t any cheddar cheese in sight; there was NO cheese in sight. Going out to the grocery store on Christmas Eve Day might rein on my list of NEVER so I was a bit verklempt.
Then I remembered that another neighbor had given me a holiday bag of goodies from Harry & David and I recalled it had some cheese in it. Hallelujah!! It wasn’t cheddar but I was desperate so I decided to try it with Harry & David’s Garlic Jack Cheese. Oh. My. Forget cheddar, I mean it. These were flat out the most delicious dish of scalloped potatoes I have EVER had! They’ve always been good with some sauteed onion and garlic combined with chicken stock and thyme but this cheese simply took them over the top to a whole different place. I call that place Nirvana.
I admit, I’ve written the recipe using more garlic and regular Monterey Jack Cheese because the Garlic Jack is not a regular grocery item. See the Recipe Notes for more detail if you happen to have some.
How good were they? Indescribable really. But if you like garlic like I do…you can probably imagine how amazing the sauce was. My friend Amy had four helpings and honestly was the one who proclaimed them the best potatoes ever. To be honest, I did not have time to do my typical photo shoot and hadn’t really planned on sharing this recipe until AFTER we ate them and loved them so much.
So that small bowl above? That was leftovers from a big pan I made. I left some with Amy and she put her money where her mouth was. She told me later she had some of these Garlic Jack Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme for Christmas breakfast too. Like all of them. I do love an enthusiastic eater!
I suppose I could have held onto this recipe and shared it for Easter but I could not wait. You shouldn’t either. Don’t invite too many to join you though. I promise you won’t be sorry; you’re not going to want to share either.
Garlic Jack Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 4 pounds Red potatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (no need to peel)
- 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the flour until it is evenly combined and saute for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the stock to the pan and whisk until combined. Add the milk, half and half, salt, pepper, parsley and thyme leaves, and whisk until combined. Continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes until the sauce comes to a simmer (do not boil) and thickens; remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- Spread half of the sliced potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Top the potatoes with half of the cream sauce, the sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the grated garlic jack cheese, and all of the Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining sliced potatoes, cream sauce, and 1/2 cup of garlic jack cheese.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 25-30 additional minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the potatoes are cooked through.
- Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves. Serve warm.
Assuming that finding a block of cheese included in a Harry & David gift basket would be unduly difficult; I've modified this recipe to include additional garlic and some parsley which was one of their ingredients. Should you happen to find some and want to use it then reduce the garlic to 4 cloves and eliminate the parsley in the ingredients list.