Don't you just love comfort food? This cheesy potatoes with ham recipe certainly qualifies for that category. It's also a good recipe to use when you have so much leftover ham from Christmas or Easter that you're not sure what to do with it. No leftovers available? Do what I do and buy a ham slice to use instead.
Don't like ham? Leave it out!
This recipe is similar to my favorite mac and cheese recipe. Instead of macaroni, I use potatoes that I've diced into cubes and partially cooked on the stove. Pre-cooking the potatoes reduces overall preparation time and is much faster than slicing potatoes, layering them, and baking for an hour or more à la scalloped potatoes.
If making your own cheese sauce scares you, stop worrying! White sauce is very easy to make from scratch and, after adding your favorite cheese, tastes so much better than jarred cheese sauce. I'll explain how to make it in the steps below.
Are you hungry yet? Here's the recipe:
Susan's Cheesy Potatoes With Leftover Ham
about half of a 5-pound bag of potatoes (I use red or russet potatoes; both work)
about 1/2 pound ham (use leftover or part of a purchased ham slice)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or your favorite, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray the inside of a 2.5-quart casserole dish.
Wash and dice potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. No need to peel the potatoes! Place the potatoes in a 3-quart pan, add water to cover plus a shake of salt, then cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost done. While the potatoes are cooking, dice the ham into pieces about the same size as the potato pieces.
When done, drain the potatoes in a colander; set aside while you use the same pan to make the cheese sauce.
Melt the butter in the pan over medium-low heat, then stir the flour into the melted butter, stirring constantly until well combined, making a light roux. Continue stirring as you cook the roux for about two minutes. Remove from heat for a minute or two to cool slightly, then place back on heat and slowly stir in the milk. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, continuing to stir, for three to five minutes or until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat and stir in about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Save the rest to use later.
Add the potatoes and the ham to the casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Stir just slightly to allow the cheese sauce to drip down into the potatoes. Cover the dish, then place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Remove the casserole from the oven and let set for about five minutes to settle, then serve.
Serves 4 hungry adults.
I like to serve cheesy potatoes and ham with baby lima beans. The color contrast is pretty and the tastes complement each other very well.
Still worried about making cheese sauce? Watch this video that shows how to make roux. It's the same method described above and a very good video for visual learners.
Sound good? Think you'll try this recipe? I'd love to read your comments!