Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hash Brown Bake With Ham

In my house, casserole might as well be a four letter word.  I guess they teased my husband in elementary school because he just will not let his hate of them go.  I love casseroles, so to bypass this issue I call them bakes.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

Hash Brown Bake with Ham
4 lbs. potatoes, I used half russet and half Yukon gold.  You could also use a bag of frozen, shredded hash browns and make your life a whole heck of a lot easier.
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 c. milk
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1-1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. ham steak, chopped
1 c. sour cream
1-1/2 c. crushed cornflakes
salt and pepper

Wash the potatoes and throw them in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes, until they are just starting to get tender.  If you use the frozen hash browns you can skip this step.
Heat the oil in a large skillet until it shimmers. 
Once the oil is hot, toss the mushrooms in and cook until a little browned and all their juice had cooked out. 
Add the onions and cook until they have softened.
Pour in the flour and stir it around for a minute.  The flour will start to stick to the pot.  Now
add in the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly until all of it is in. 
Add in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for a minute until it has thickened a little.
Shred up the cheese and toss it in along with 4 Tbsp. of the butter.  Stir it around until the cheese and butter is melted.
Take it off the heat and stir in ham and sour cream.
When the potatoes are done pull them out and let cool for a minute.  When cool enough to handle slip off the skins (they will slide right off).
Shred the potatoes on a box grater and put them back in the empty cooking pot.  If you used frozen hash browns you could skip all this work and let me tell ya what I will be using next time.
Pour the cheesy ham sauce over the potatoes and stir up.  Check seasonings.
Pour into a greased 9"x13" pan.
Melt the remaining butter and pour over the cornflakes along with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Stir.  Sprinkle this over the top of your bake. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until bubbly.  Holy cow!  Comfort food at it's finest.

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