grown up potato casserole with leeks and brussels sprouts

Thank goodness Rich came home this week. I spent almost every night last week curled up around a bowl of something full of potatoes and cheese: this is not the only such I recipe I have to post! I think I crave comfort food more when I'm here alone. Truman doesn't really offer much in the way of intelligent conversation.

Anyway. This casserole is a riff on the classic Campbell's soup version my mom used to make all the time. I loved it, but I didn't have a can of condensed soup in my house, and I was craving it. You might recognize the original: layers of shredded potatoes, with a creamy, cheesy filling, topped with cornflakes.

Instead of going to the store, I decided to create a similar dish, based on the original recipe. Using the ingredients I had on hand, it turned out spec-tacular. I mean, this is so good. It would make a great holiday side. You could make the whole dish ahead, and set it in the fridge for up to three days before baking it to serve. Just keep the crunchy bits off the top until you're ready to bake it. Now, I used crushed up sweet potato chips for the topping, because I don't generally keep cornflakes in the house. You can use your judgement on that.

If you have anti-brussels sprouts folks in the house, just put this on the table and keep your mouth shut. They'll eat the whole thing, I swear.

Here's how it's done:

First, you need some cooked potatoes. If you have leftovers, that's perfect. If not, coat about 7 russets very well in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake at 450 for about 45 minutes to an hour. I left the skins on mine because extra peeling is for the birds. Set your cooked potatoes aside to cool.

Finely chop up the white/very light green bits of a leek and rinse well. Add to that two cups of very thinly sliced brussels sprouts. These are both veggies that require an extra amount of cleaning- leeks are always full of dirt, and brussels sprouts almost always. I also had a very unfortunate bugs-in-the-brussels incident last year and since then I go the extra mile when trimming/cleaning them. I remove the entire outer layer of the brussels sprouts and then rinse them.

This is all the trimmings I pulled off of my brussels sprouts. In my mind, I'd rather let go of a few leaves than eat dirt/bugs. 

Set aside your bowl full of veggies. Shred the cheddar cheese and set that aside too.

In a 10" skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and brussels sprouts.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprout leaves have turned bright green and the leeks are starting to brown. Add the flour and stir until everything is fully coated. 

Cook and stir two minutes more, until the flour is starting to brown, then pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly.

Stir constantly, turning up the heat to med-high, until the mixture thickens and you can see the trails of the spatula in the pan. It should be opaque and pretty thick.

Turn the heat to low and add the sour cream. Stir until it's well combined, then season the mix with salt and pepper.

Once the sauce is all combined, remove from the heat and set aside. 

Chop up your cooked potatoes into just-larger-than-bite-size pieces, and set in a large bowl.

Add the sauce mix to the potatoes.

Toss gently to coat, then add the cheese and toss that in too.

If you were to stand in front of this bowl with a spoon and just eat the mixture, I wouldn't judge you. Not even a little. I mean, you could pretty much serve this as one of the best potato salads ever. So just take your time with that spoon. No one is watching.

Once you've finished snacking, pour the mixture into a 13x9 and top with your crushed sweet potato chips/cornflakes. I toss mine with melted butter because I'm worth it.

Now put it in the oven for about an hour at 350. You want it to be really bubbly and nice and browned all over. I recommend baking it on a baking sheet because sometimes it bubbles over a little.

Serve. Marvel. 

Here's the recipe!