Hey everyone! It was a bit late this year, but winter did arrive here in Alberta. Actually, winter didn’t arrive so much as it snuck up and smacked us in the face. Up until Christmas it was unseasonably warm [we actually had a week of +5 and above] and I was actually starting to think winter as we know it wasn’t going to happen. But then it got COLD. Like really cold. We’re talking -30 and with a wind chill that makes your face hurt cold. There was actually a couple of days in there where it was colder here in Edmonton then it was in Antarctica. Then it seemed to warm up a bit to what I would consider ‘my kind of winter’ which is -5 and sunny. BUT this past Thursday night we got hit with a snow storm and it finally stopped snowing over 24 hours later. Needless to say, between the horrendous roads and freezing cold, Matt and I haven’t ventured too far over the past couple weeks.
The funny thing is as much as Albertan’s complain about the cold, everyone kind of bands together and bonds over it to. Suddenly everyone’s weekend plans consist of not leaving the house because it’s waaayyy too cold out to do anything. And the typical “Thanks!” at the end of an email becomes “Drive safe out there!” or “Stay warm!”
But the best part? As much as we whine about the weather, it also seems to be something we are weirdly proud of to [although we would NEVER admit it]. It’s like “Oh you think it’s cold where you are? We just experienced a -40 wind chill AND I still had to go to work.” Even in Iceland I have to confess I was a bit smug when some of the locals had to admit we had it worse then they do.
To be honest though, as long as I don’t have to go anywhere I don’t mind. The colder weather forces me to slow down and just enjoy being at home. I love curling up under a blanket with a good book, and a coffee [or a glass of wine] and doing that when it’s over 25 degrees in our apartment isn’t quite as enjoyable. Plus one of the things I love about winter is making all of those home-y comfort foods I grew up eating. Homemade soups, chili, stews [really anything you can eat with a fresh loaf of bread] just don’t taste the same in the summer.
This year I fell in love with this scalloped potato recipe. I’ll admit, growing up I was not really a fan of scalloped potatoes [they had ONIONS in them. Gross.] but this past Thanksgiving I was put in charge of making scalloped potatoes and it turns out if you cut the onions REALLY, REALLY small, scalloped potatoes are actually pretty good.
Since Thanksgiving was the first time I’d ever made them, I made sure to follow the recipe my mom gave me exactly, but I did notice that the recipe mentioned you could add cheddar cheese to the sauce to make cheesy scalloped potatoes. And since cheese tastes good on almost everything I knew I just HAD to try that version. But cheddar cheese also seemed a bit basic, and I kind of wanted to get creative and do something that is totally my own. So after thinking it over for a couple weeks, I came up with an even better idea.
Enter Gruyere & Herb Scalloped Potatoes. My favorite mac and cheese recipe uses Gruyere cheese, so I was pretty confident it would taste good in scalloped potatoes to. As for the herbs, I did some googling and found some other recipes that use Gruyere cheese until I found a recipe that used some herbs that I thought would go really well with scalloped potatoes. Then I got to work actually making them.
I took my first crack at them last weekend. The turned out fantastic but I might have gone a tad overboard on the cheese. Ok, that’s an understatement. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I actually had to drain the cheese grease into the sink before serving them. Matt also wasn’t overly impressed when he took them for lunch the next day and they dripped grease all over his pants. So this past weekend I tried them again, this time reducing the cheese to half of what I used the first time and ohmygoodness guys I think we found a winner! Not only did they taste just as good as they did the first time I made them, they weren’t floating in grease! My two taste testers even went for seconds and were all set to take the left overs home [too bad there wasn’t any left!]
Hope you enjoy! And stay warm!
Gruyere & Herb Scalloped Potatoes
- 5 Large Potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes are the best)
- 2/3 Cup Onion (chopped)
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Rosemary
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Gruyere (plus more for topping)
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Peel and slice potatoes really thin. Set aside.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender but not brown. Add in the flour, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir until a paste forms. Add cream. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and cook 1 - 2 minutes more stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Place half of the potatoes in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Cover with half the sauce. Repeat layers. Bake covered for 45 minutes, stirring once. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more or until potatoes are done.
Optional: when potatoes are done, top them with additional shredded cheese and turn the oven up to broil. Return potatoes to oven and broil until cheese is golden brown.