I modified this recipe after much experimentation, using several variations from Food Network, chef Robert Irvine and Emeril Lagasse. This recipe turns out best in a shallow covered casserole dish – it seems to set up better and cook more evenly.
It is great as a winter side dish to baked ham — the ultimate comfort food!
5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8″ thick slices
1/3 cup flour
4 tbs. butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground dry thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
1/4 tsp. white pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt, to taste
4 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
2 stalks chopped scallion, with greens, for garnish
Peel the potatoes and set aside in a pot of cold water. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Measure out other ingredients and set aside. When ready, slice the potatoes into 1/8″ planks using a mandoline.
In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to form a golden roux. Stir constantly, about 10 minutes. Add the dry spices and bacon, then the milk and heavy cream. Reduce heat and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring constantly.
Planning for three layers, arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in a greased shallow casserole dish, covered with 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the shredded Colby cheese. Repeat twice and top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake covered for one hour, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Top with chopped scallion for garnish and serve.