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Scalloped Potatoes

This dish is slightly adapted from Christopher Kimball's "The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook." Kimball is founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Don't be tempted to leave out the onions; while this dish doesn't taste particularly oniony, it tastes bland without them.

10 medium baking potatoes (4 to 5 pounds total), peeled and thinly sliced
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 medium onions, each halved and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Set sliced potatoes into a large bowl filled with ice water. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the oven rack at the upper middle level. Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce constantly until the mixture thickens noticeably, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt and nutmeg and remove from heat.

Drain potatoes completely. Spread a layer of potatoes over the bottom of the baking dish. Pour some sauce over them. Sprinkle in a layer of onions and grate black pepper over this. Continue layering in this order until all ingredients are used up (be frugal with the sauce, reserving enough for the final layer).

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake on the upper middle oven rack at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Serve at once.

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

Thursday, December 16, 1999

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