ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Family Cheesy Potatoes,” from our 2001-2003 family cookbook It’s All Good*
TIMING: up to 1 1/2 hours
DIFFICULTY: Harder than the original (which could be made by your cat), but not very hard
TOOLS: Nothing special, just a baking pan and whisk
COOK TYPE: Boiling (or steaming) and baking
HEALTH: There is a LOT of fat in this dish. In our family, it is most commonly served on special occasions, with some sort of feast, so the fat content is–if not wholly absorbed then at least–acceptable. On the other hand, my version is loaded with root veggies (including, but not limited to) potatoes, and is made with real ingredients. Not a canned cream of soup to be found.
EXPERIENCE: I was craving something homey and familiar as I stood eying the butternut squash on my kitchen counter and meditating on the two measly potatoes in my crisper. Hmmm… Let’s renovate Cheesy Potatoes! And eat it up for dinner tonight.
NOTES: I used butternut squash, carrots, and yukon gold potatoes because that is what I had. Any combination of root veggies would work, including acorn squash, parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, russet, red, or new potatoes, sweet potatoes, even spaghetti squash. What doesn’t taste good smothered with sour cream, cheddar, and butter?
This is enough to feed a small army (or bring to Christmas dinner). For a family of four, halve it (at least) or prepare to have many leftovers.
- Peel and dice up 3 pounds of a combined butternut squash, Yukon gold potatoes, and carrots (or other root veggies). Boil or steam them until just tender, not at all mooshy. Set aside, preferably in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion and saute until golden. Whisk in 2 tablespoons all purpose flour for about 1 minute. Continue to whisk while adding 2 cups milk.
- Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon steak seasoning. Set aside and let cool almost completely.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a 9×13 inch baking dish, combine cooled veggies, cooled bechamel sauce, 2 cups sour cream, and 8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese. Stir and smooth the top.
- Crumble 1 1/2 cups cornflakes until like rough breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole then drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until bubbly and golden brown. Give it a few minutes under the broiler, if necessary.
Serve with other indulgent holiday foods or a lean protein and a green veggie, like maybe chicken breasts or pork chops with sauteed kale or a green salad
*Recipe has been changed from the original.