Every holiday season, you wait with anticipation when the bubbling, pan of scalloped potatoes is put on the table, salivating at the thought of those creamy, cheesy potatoes to come. You giddily lift a forkful to your mouth and take a bite — only to realize with utter disappointment that the potatoes are still tough. Unfortunately, that’s a common mishap that’s befallen almost everyone who’s made that beloved dish at one time or another. Now, comes Sous Vide to the rescue. Never again will your scalloped potatoes be anything but perfectly tender, and cooked through and through. Cooking the slices of potatoes in a vacuum-sealed bag in a precision cooker also results in a more pronounced earthy, potato flavor. As much as we love all that cream and cheese, we also want to taste the actual potato, right? And if you vacuum-seal the bag with a few of the leftover potato peels inside — a trick I learned from a chef — you’ll end up with an even deeper tuber flavor. Just remove the peels before completing the dish. Best yet? Because the potatoes are already cooked before you assemble the dish and put it into the oven to bake, you need far less cream. I’ve made other scalloped potato recipes that use as much as 3 1/2 cups of heavy cream. My sous vide version? It uses just 1 cup. If that’s not an excuse to indulge in dessert afterward, I don’t know what is.
- 4 pounds Russet potatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for the pan
- 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 185ºF (85ºC).
- Peel the potatoes, reserving a few of the peels. Cut potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
- Season potatoes with salt. Divide evenly between two large zipper lock or vacuum seal bags. Place a few potato peels in each bag and seal using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the dry setting.
- Place the bags in the water bath and set the timer for 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before the potatoes are finished, heat the oven to 400ºF.Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
- When the timer goes off, remove the bags from the water bath. Remove the potato peels from the bags.
- Arrange 1/3 of the potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top.
- Top with a little fresh thyme, a light grating of nutmeg, and some ground pepper.
- Repeat two more times so that you end up with three layers of potatoes. Pour heavy cream in and around the potatoes.
- Bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Let potatoes rest for 5 minutes before serving.