2-3 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
12 oz chicken broth
1 cup milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups)
20 oz pkg Trader Joe's shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp butter
1-2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large pot. Cook onion until soft. Add salt, pepper and Thyme and then slowly stir in the flour until fully incorporated. Add broth and bring to a boil and stir until mixture is thickened. Add milk and stir thoroughly. Remove from burner and stir in the cheese until cheese is melted. Add shredded potatoes and mix well. Then stir in the sour cream until incorporated.
Spray a 9x11 inch glass pan with nonstick spray. Pour the potatoes into the pan and bake about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter and stir in panko breadcrumbs. Add crumbs to the top of the potatoes and continue baking until crumbs are browned and potatoes are bubbling (about 15 minutes). You might need to increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Check to make sure potatoes are tender. Allow potatoes to rest about 10 minutes and serve warm.
This dish goes well with ham. You can also reheat the potatoes adding leftover ham to make a delicious second meal.
These potatoes are very forgiving. You can add more shredded potatoes--up to 28 oz and they will still be moist. Just make sure you have enough sauce to keep them moist!