How to contact the mailbox
If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.
Tom’s golden chili scalloped potatoes
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves 8 to 10
Karen Anderson of Elk, Wash., was looking for a good scalloped potato recipe.
I make this dish, created by Tom Harry of Rancho Murieta, to rave reviews. It reminds me of potato leek soup, while Harry shares he had enchiladas in mind while creating it. Either way, the final result is beyond delicious.
Note: Harry shares that he uses a regular tablespoon from the silverware drawer (not a measuring spoon) when measuring the flour for the roux.
8 Yukon Gold potatoes
4 large leeks
1 stick butter, divided use
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour (see note above)
2 cups milk
Kosher salt and cayenne (or regular) pepper, to taste
Two 4-ounce cans diced mild green chilies, drained well
2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese, divided use
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
Peel and slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. Pat dry and set aside.
Trim leeks, removing root end and leaving just a bit of green at top, to use about 8 to 10 inches. Slice each leek in half length-wise and clean well under running water. Pat dry. Slice into 1/2-inch half rings.
In a skillet, over medium-low heat, sauté leeks in 1/2 stick of the butter until soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a little more butter as you go, if necessary. Set aside.
For the sauce: Cut the other half stick of butter into pieces and put in a saucepan over low to medium-low heat and begin to melt butter. Stir in flour to make a roux, stirring constantly until it becomes a smooth paste. Reduce heat to low and slowly add the milk, continuing to stir constantly until sauce is thick and smooth.
Add kosher salt and pepper, tasting and adjusting seasoning as necessary. Add green chilies and one cup of the Monterey jack cheese to sauce, mixing well. Cook until cheese just begins to melt then remove from heat.
Assembly: Spread half of the sliced potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Next, spread half of the leeks over the potatoes. Spoon half of the sauce over the leeks, spreading and smoothing it over the leeks.
Repeat layers; the remaining potatoes over the sauce, the remaining leeks over the potatoes then the remaining sauce over the leeks. Sprinkle the remaining cup of Monterey jack cheese on the top.
Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
If desired, uncover and continue to bake another 10 minutes or so until cheese is golden brown on top.