This week on Kitchn, we’re testing some of the most popular scalloped potato recipes in hopes of finding one you can confidently turn to time and time again. Almost immediately, I knew Chrissy Teigen’s recipe for “Pepper’s Scalloped Potatoes” from her cookbook Cravings needed to be a contender in our showdown.
For starters, she writes in Cravings that if you only make one recipe from the whole cookbook, it should be this one. That’s a bold statement! I was also charmed by the title — Pepper is a nod to her mom, who’s been making these potatoes for Chrissy her whole life (I’m a sucker for any family recipe). I also liked that it bakes in a Dutch oven instead of a casserole dish, which indicates its generous size and scope, intended to serve a crowd (or one person who really needs some carb comfort). It contains bacon (some inside, some on top), ham, and a good deal of seasoning from two tablespoons of garlic salt. It reads like a winner.
I was excited to make this recipe and just knew I’d love it. Alas (spoiler alert), I did not.
Get the recipe: Pepper’s Scalloped Potatoes from Chrissy Teigen
How I Made Chrissy Teigen’s Scalloped Potatoes
I began by peeling, halving, and slicing five pounds of russet potatoes, which I then rinsed and drained before transferring to a large bowl. (This was the first red flag. Starchy potatoes are integral to the creamy texture and classic looks of scalloped potatoes, but here I was, rinsing off their starch). I then added chopped onion and cubed ham and tossed to combine.
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I cooked half the bacon in a large Dutch oven until crisp, added butter until melted, then whisked in garlic salt, pepper, and flour until smooth. I whisked in the milk and brought the mixture to a boil, then cooked until the sauce thickened.
Lastly, I arranged half the potato mixture in the bottom of the Dutch oven, covered it with half the sauce, then repeated with the remaining potatoes and sauce. I topped the whole thing off with the remaining bacon, and baked it uncovered until the bacon was cooked. (The recipe says it will crisp after 30 to 35 minutes. Mine took 45 and never really got crispy.) Then I covered the dish with the lid and continued baking until it was bubbly.
My Honest Review of Chrissy Teigen’s Scalloped Potatoes
I really wanted to love these potatoes. They’re baked in a big, homey Dutch oven, they’re packed with ham and bacon, and with all that garlic salt, I knew they’d be well-seasoned. Unfortunately, while I did end up with a big pot of comforting potato something, it wasn’t scalloped potatoes. The consistency was similar to a lumpy mashed potato casserole or a potato stew.
Where things seem to have gone wrong is the inclusion of a whopping 1 1/4 cups flour to make a white “sauce” to bind the ingredients. Not even a whole stick of butter and the fat rendered from four bacon slices could moisten that much flour, much less make a roux. By the time it simmered in the milk long enough to cook away the raw flour taste, the concoction was as thick as mashed potatoes — and that’s before it even went into the Dutch oven.
The flour/milk mixture wound up turning the other ingredients into a thick and gluey mish-mash. It scorched around the edges and stuck to the bottom of the pot. Even after an overnight soak in the sink and thorough scraping, it took two heavy-duty dishwasher cycles and some elbow grease to clean my pot.
That being said, Chrissy’s casserole did satisfy my comfort-food cravings, and flavor-wise they were spot-on.
If You’re Making Chrissy Teigen’s Scalloped Potatoes, a Few Tips
Although I’ll turn elsewhere when I’m craving scalloped potatoes, I might tuck into this when I need a big pot of warm carbs to take the edge off a hard day. If you want to do the same, here are my suggestions.
- Use a 5-quart Dutch oven. The recipe doesn’t specify the size of Dutch oven, but based on the volume of food in the photo, I used my 5-quart pot and it worked well.
- Don’t skimp on the seasoning. Two tablespoons of garlic salt sounds outrageous, but it was spot-on, even with the bacon and ham. This dish was not bland, but it wasn’t over-salted either.
- Cook all the bacon upfront. I’d recommend cooking all of the bacon and sprinkling it on top as a garnish, leaving the ham to do the pork work inside. I see no reason to unnecessarily make more work by cooking and using the bacon two different ways.
Have you ever made Chrissy Teigen’s Scalloped Potatoes? Tell us what you thought!
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