Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

Hash Brown casserole has to be one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  I tend to judge breakfast places by the quality and crispiness of their hash browns (shredded only please!), but if they have hash brown casserole?  Winner in my book.

When my sisters came to visit last weekend, I wanted to have breakfast at home and was trying to think of something I could make in advance, just in case I was accidentally over-served the night before.  After hunting for hash brown casserole recipes online, I found that every single one had canned soup in it.  No thanks!

 Instead of embracing the canned soup method, I decided to try making a version using a basic roux, and switched up part of the milk for chicken stock to get that subtle flavor that is familiar in recipes that use canned soup.  The results? O.M.Gosh. So tasty, and so easy! This is going to be a go-to for me when I have guests in town.  I made it the day before and it was perfectly delicious the next morning. Just wait to add the cornflake crust at the last minute so they don't get soggy in the refrigerator.

*1 small onion, finely chopped
*5 tbsp. butter, divided, plus more for the pan
*4 tbsp. flour
*1 c. chicken stock
*1 c. milk (I used 2%)
*2 c. freshly grated extra sharp cheddar
*1 lb. shredded potatoes (I used Simply Potatoes from the refrigerator section)
*2 c. cornflakes
*salt, pepper

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook 4-5 minutes, or until soft.  Stir in the flour and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously.  Add in the chicken stock and milk and whisk until smooth.  Bring this mixture to a gentle boil and continue to whisk until thickened (2-3 minutes).  Remove from the heat and add in cheddar cheese.  Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, then stir in the shredded potatoes.  

Butter a 9X13 casserole dish.  Spread the potatoes evenly in the dish.  At this point, cool completely, then cover and refrigerate if you are making this in advance.  When ready to bake, crush cornflakes into medium crumbs. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave, then stir the butter into the crumbs until they are evenly coated.  Spread the crumb mixture on top of the casserole and bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly around the edges.  Enjoy! 

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