What a great way to use leftover ham! We love this after Christmas or Easter when leftovers from ham seem to be abundant. We make a HUGE amount, so if you want less, just cut this recipe in half. This makes enough to serve 8-10 people (we love leftovers)!
3 pounds (about 8-10 medium) potatoes, washed, pared and sliced thinly to measure around 6 cups
5 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 cups (whole) milk
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3-4 cups chopped (small pieces) cooked, smoked ham
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Melt butter in large saucepan, sprinkle in flour and blend with melted butter, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth and bubbly. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Heat on medium heat until hot and boiling. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat and allow to stand. Add 2 cups shredded cheese and mix until melted.
You may want to prepare potatoes layer by layer to avoid potatoes, exposed to air, from browning. I usually do about 3 potatoes per layer.
Divide onion and ham in half, cheese sauce and potatoes into thirds. Start with a very large baking pan that will hold about 3-4 quarts. Butter or spray the pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Place 1/3 of the potatoes evenly on the bottom of the pan, add 1/2 of the ham and onion, 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Top with more potatoes, the other half of the onion and ham and 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Top with a final layer of potatoes and remaining cheesesauce. Reserve the remaining 1 cup of cheese until later.
Cover with aluminum foil or cover of dish and place in 350 degree oven (preheated). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover, and bake an additional 45 minutes. Add shredded cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and everything is bubbly and top is slightly brown.
Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with a green veggie or salad and fruit. Leftovers are delicious!