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The disaster of Christmas dinner...my scalloped potatoes..what went wrong?

Our traditional Christmas dinner is beef tenderloin with scalloped potatoes. This was the 9th Christmas I've made scalloped potatoes and they were a disaster and I have no idea why.

The basic recipe is 3 pounds Yukon golds, peeled and sliced thin. They are layered with heavy cream (a quart) and a pound of white cheddar. They are baked at 375 for 45 minutes covered and then an additional 30 minutes uncovered. I also always let them sit 30 minutes before serving.

This year they were soupy and the potatoes were not even close to done. I increased the temp to 400 and baked another 30 minutes and the potatoes were a bit better but still al dente. The sauce tasted great (cheese and cream, how could it not?) but it's a soupy mess. Ive never had this happen before.

The only change from previous years is that Dh got organic Yukon golds instead of non-organic.

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  1. Could your oven thermometer be on the fritz?

    4 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      Before putting the potatoes in the baking dish I put them in a big bowl and add some sliced onion and flour and give it a good toss. I don't normally measure the cream but just add until it comes to the top of the baking dish. I have also found that sometimes I have to bake it longer than the recipe suggests in order for it to firm up.

      1. re: millygirl

        Sounds like the potatoes were the problem, though I use organic potatoes sometimes and they seem to cook the same.

      2. re: rockandroller1

        I did a lot of baking with no problem...I don't think it was the oven.

        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          I doubt the organic nature of the potatoes made the difference, it must have just been those particular potatoes; maybe they were picked before they should have been? I don't know much about gardening or growing vegetables. But it just seems like an oven problem if they were also soupy in addition to being not done, that to me says things weren't cooking properly.

      3. Happend to to the wife a few years ago not a clue why as well....

        dc

        1. Did the cream break, was there any curdling? I have had that happen, and now always make a base white sauce first, add cheese to sauce. Can't think of another thing that could cause that.

          1 Reply
          1. The "variable" are pretty limited here -- cooking time/temp and the ingredients. It is possible that the potatoes themselves were somehow 'different' (maybe they had gotten frozen or something?) but more likely someone (or something) was futzing with your oven. A few extra "peeks" by well meaning busy bodies can really lenghten cooking times. Another that can happen is some how the oven gets sets to the wrong "mode" and doesn't really attain the temp you want for the length of time called for -- in some cases this is not a "malfunction" as helpers are notorious for not putting the oven into the mode you really need -- bake, not time bake or speed bake or convection bake or sensor bake or what have you...

            You could go all "Capt, Queek" on your family/guests and inquire as to who did what, but the easier thing to do is make a second batch in a few days or weeks-- in the intrest of verifying the operation of the stove. Like has been said, the cream, cheese, and taters won't go looking for takers...

            1 Reply
            1. re: renov8r

              The potatoes came from Fresh Market and were purchased on Saturday and kept in the pantry until used on Tuesday. Dh and I were the only ones there while they were cooking and the oven was only opened to remove the foil between the cooking time covered and uncovered. I think the issue is the taters themselves, but not sure what the issue was. They seemed normal when I was peeling and slicing.

            2. Organic or not, potatoes can be a month old or almost a year old, and vary in quality. Since you've made this successfully so many times, it sounds like you got a funky batch of potatoes!