Friday, October 21, 2011

"Dead-On" Funeral Potatoes

I was trying to think of the most polite way to describe what funeral potatoes are, but there kind of isn't one.  Here's the deal.  This dish is a homemade take this hilarious but all too accurate recipe, which is something always served at the family dinner after a Mormon funeral.  Ask any Mormon in North America.  They all know funeral potatoes and they all love them.  Promise.

Casey loves funeral potatoes (as do I).  Once every few months I'll try out a new recipe for these because although I've always ALWAYS loved them, before I met Casey I had only made them once or twice.  I tried the semi-homemade version about 10 times before I just decided to make them from scratch and when Casey took a bite he looked at me and said, "These are dead on!"

"Dead On" Funeral Potatoes
Recipe by me

6 cups cooked shredded potatoes -

Sauce –
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup dried minced onion
2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
1 cup water
2 cups milk – whatever you have on hand
3 cups shredded medium/sharp cheddar cheese

2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs (or lightly crushed corn flakes if you want a more authentic funeral potato)
4 tbsp melted butter
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a soup pot, melt butter and add flour.  Cook, whisking constantly over medium heat, for 3-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bouillon, minced onion, water, and milk.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese, one handful at a time, until melted and gooey and delicious.  Stir in potatoes, one cup at a time, making sure to coat the potatoes well.  Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking sheet.  Mix all three topping ingredients.  Spread evenly over the top of your potatoes.  Bake them at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden and brown and bubbly and awesome.

You can make these a day or two ahead without the topping (to avoid it getting soggy) if you keep it well-covered.  Then before your event, take them out of the fridge and add your topping about 30 minutes before baking.

You *can* use frozen shredded hash browns; however, I've tried them both with fresh potatoes I boiled and shredded myself and frozen shredded hash browns.  Even following the exact same sauce recipe, the frozen potatoes yielded an inferior result.  It's not a huge amount of work to just boil and shred your own.  To do this, pierce 8 medium russet potatoes (about 6 large, about 10-12 small).  Place them in a pot and cover them with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-high and continue to boil until fork tender (approx 15-20 minutes).  Drain.  Once the potatoes are still hot but cool enough to handle, rub the skins off the potatoes with your hands.  Then either shred your potatoes with a cheese grater or the cheese grater attachment of a food processor.

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