Recipes for this casserole, usually made with frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup and a butter-soaked topping of crushed cornflakes, are all over the Internet as well as on the back of some frozen-potato packages. This version uses fresh potatoes, does away with the canned soup, cuts back on the butter and sour cream and substitutes crushed tortilla chips for cornflakes. It makes for a rich but irresistible side dish.
Packaged shredded cheese is often coated with powdered cellulose to keep it from clumping, so shredding your own is a better choice here. Fresh potatoes are preferable; use frozen shredded potatoes (coated with dextrose) if you want, but defrost them first. For best results, use the large shredding disk on a food processor to prep the fresh potatoes.
Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled, covered and refrigerated without the topping a couple of days in advance. Put the topping on just before baking.
Servings: 8 - 12
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 cup heated chicken broth, preferably homemade
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 1 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Place the bouillon cubes in the hot broth and stir until they have dissolved.
Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook for several minutes, until the onion begins to soften but not brown. Stir in the flour and pepper and then the broth, allowing the mixture to thicken for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool. Stir in the cheese and sour cream.
Coarsely shred the potatoes in a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk. Add them to the cheese mixture as fast as possible so they don’t have a chance to discolor. Make sure the mixture is well combined and spread it evenly in the baking dish. Top with crushed tortilla chips; bake for 50 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling around the edges. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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