Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sour Cream & Chives Potato Bake

So I have gone and joined another cooking challenge, only this one satisfies my need to just throw things together with no recipe - it is an improv cooking challenge!

Improv Challenge

There are two ingredients specified for every month and you can do whatever you like with them. This month the ingredients are potatoes and cheese and instead of being inventive I have made something that has been on my list for awhile. Today I am giving you yet another recipe for potatoes from my mother, or at least, somewhat based on something that my mother used to make. Only this time I'm not actually sure if I like this as a child. We called it scalloped potatoes, which is the same as a potato bake or potato gratin, and it is basically thin slices of potato cooked in a milky cheese sauce. From what I remember of having this as a child, it was very milky and had big pieces of onion. I remember just picking out the crispy cheese top and the best looking slices of potato and leaving all of the rest. Now, however, I am not so fussy and am making a recipe that is to my own liking. I have tried to make this before, a long time ago, when I was first really beginning to cook, and I remember it taking forever for the potatoes to cook - probably because I filled the dish up far too much. I also remember a flatmate of mine making this, only absolutely coating it in nutmeg, which has pretty much put me off of that spice for good. However, that same flatmate had a pretty good version of macaroni and cheese, parts of which I may commandeer at some point, so I guess I should not hold her nutmeg addiction against her.

So, enough of the rambling, how about I just get on to my super awesome (extra cheesy) version of scalloped potatoes?

First, here is my mum's instructions to me: "Well that was peeled potato sliced thinly, boiled in water till just starting to get soft and then the water was drained. This is the bad part. You add a knob of butter, and about 2 cups of milk mixed with the powdery stuff in the box. Oops. Sour cream and chives was my fav flavour. To make it yourselve you would add some milk and butter with cheese, salt, pepper and seasoning and a wee bit of cheese and sour cream and chives. I reckon that would work just fine. If it needs thickened a wee bit of cornflour mixed into the milk :) Yum."

Here is my interpretation of that:

Scalloped Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

4 large potatoes or 6-8 small/medium potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove crushed garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups normal milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan
250 gram tub sour cream
1 large handful fresh chives, chopped finely
100 grams cooked bacon or ham, chopped thinly (and completely optional)
1 cup frozen peas (also optional, I just really like peas)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Now that looks like a really long list of ingredients, but most of them are staples that you probably have in your cupboards and fridge anyway. So to begin with, turn the oven on to 180 degrees celsius. Then wash and peel the potatoes and slice them up thinly (about a half centimetre slices). Place them in a pot of water and boil them for about 10 minutes, until they are beginning to get soft.

While the potatoes are boiling, you are going to make a white sauce. Place the butter in a medium sized saucepan and heat it until it is sizzling. Add the garlic and onion and cook for a couple of minutes, until they are translucent and soft. Stir in the flour and cook the resulting paste for a minute or two (the heat should be medium-low). Then slowly add the milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition so that the sauce is always smooth (except for the onion/garlic bits). When all the milk has been added the sauce should be slightly thick - you don't want it to get too thick yet so take it off the heat instead of letting it simmer. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then stir in the parmesan cheese.

Now you are finally ready to put your final dish together! Take a large, square oven dish and spoon in enough white sauce to just cover the bottom (no more than a third of your sauce). Layer half of the potato over top of the sauce, then spread half of the sour cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle over half of the chives (and also the peas and ham, if you are using them) and then pour over half of the remaining white sauce.

Repeat the layering process! The last of the potatoes, then the sour cream, the chives, the peas and meat if you are making such a packed meal as I did. Pour over the last of the white sauce, then sprinkle the top with lots of grated cheese! My pictures below are not full of melted cheese because I ran out of cheese, but that's OK because I don't like too much cheese anyway. A bit of parmesan is enough for me, but if I was cooking for others I would absolutely smother the top in cheese, because most people love cheese.

Bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes at 180 degrees celsius, until a knife inserted into the middle goes through all of the layers of potato easily and the cheese on top is golden and bubbly.


  1. Great recipe! I tried a scalloped potato recipe once and it just didn't turn out. I can't wait to give yours a try.

  2. Sour cream, potatoes, garlic, cheese & bacon...oh my!! Love the sound of this recipe.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge entry: Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

    Cook Lisa Cook

  3. Perfect combination of ingredients! Looks great!

  4. That's a great recipe, I love Scalloped potatoes and when you put everything else in there, it's a winner in my book.

  5. I love your mother's directions! Sour cream and chives is one of my favorite flavors for potatoes.

  6. Just made this today. It is delish. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Terrific post, I love Frugal antic's site. This recipe is such a keeper. I just adore cheesy potatoes like this!

    Thanks for sharing
    Dave at


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