Smoked Gouda, Ham, Potato, and Leek Casserole
This hearty and comforting dish combines all of the best elements of scalloped potatoes, cheesy gratin, and creamy casserole in one! I love the smoky element to this dish that comes from the smoked gouda, but you could just as easily use smoked cheddar, or even a non-smoked cheese like mozzarella, or gruyere.
- Cook Time1 hr 20 min
- Ready in1.5 hrs
- Yield4 servings
- 2 large, or 3 small leeks
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) butter, split
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 lb (225g) cooked ham, cut into bite-sized slices
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5mL) ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (250mL) half and half 18% cream
- 1 cup (250mL) plain yogurt
- 6 oz (170g) smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup (60mL) breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) paprika
Chop your leeks into thick half moons.
To start, take your leeks and cut off the green tops. Make your cut at the halfway point where the light green turns to dark.
Wash the green tops, then set them aside in the fridge or freezer. These make an excellent addition to any homemade stock or broth you may be making!
Now trim the bottom 1/2″ (1cm) off the root ends of the white parts and discard.
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise so each becomes two half cylinders.
The way leeks grow, there can often be dirt and grit wedged into the layers you’ve now exposed. Run the leek halves under cold water, thumbing the layers to make sure there isn’t any hidden grit.
Once clean, lay the cut sides down and chop the leeks into half moons at least 1/2″ (1cm) wide.
Set these aside for the time being.
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes into rounds.
To start, fill a medium bowl half way with cold water.
Peel one potato, then, using your sharpest knife, or a mandolin if you happen to have one, carefully slice the potatoes as thinly as you can into rounds. Try aiming for 1/8″ (3mm) but it’s not a big deal if they’re bigger than that or aren’t evenly sliced. If you find the potato wobbly, shave a thin slice off of the bottom half of the potato, so it sits still and steady on the cutting board.
Once you’ve cut the first potato, throw all of the rounds into the cold water. Now repeat with the other potato.
Keep these sitting in the cold water while you complete the rest of the recipe. This is to ensure that the cut potatoes don’t oxidize and turn black.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C, gas mark 4)
If you have a 10″ cast iron pan, use it for the whole recipe. If not, complete this first part in a a regular frying pan, then transfer everything into a casserole dish.
Take 1 tablespoon (15mL) of the butter and put it in the pan over medium high heat.
Once melted, add the leeks and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until they’re beginning to brown.
Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if things look like they want to burn.
Now scrape out the contents of the pan into a bowl and set aside.
In the same cast iron, or in a casserole dish, add the second tablespoon (15mL) of butter and let it melt.
Create the first layer of potatoes by laying about 1/3 of them down, overlapping, in a concentric circle.
Top the potatoes with a little over 1/3 of the ham slices, scattered over.
Now spread on a little over 1/3 of the leek mixture over that.
Sprinkle a small pinch of salt and pepper over the whole thing.
Repeat this process twice. You should have just a little bit of ham and leek mixture left for the top of the casserole, think of it as more of a garnish.
Since this will all be covered with melted cheese, don’t worry too much if you ran out of potatoes half way through the top section, it’s not a big deal!
After the last layer goes on, sprinkle the thyme and nutmeg, as well as a little bit of salt and pepper over everything.
In a small pot, dump in the cream and yogurt and mix well. Gently heat up over medium low heat, until the mixture is hot.
Now slowly pour this mixture over the layered potatoes, making sure to pour some into the nooks and crannies.
Top the whole thing evenly with half of the shredded cheese.
Sprinkle all of the breadcrumbs evenly on top of that.
Top with the other half of the shredded cheese.
Sprinkle over the paprika.
Cover the entire thing with a lid or tin foil and throw it into the oven for 30 minutes.
Take off the lid or tinfoil and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden on top.
If the cheese isn’t bubbling at this point, you can turn on the broiler for a few minutes to finish it off. Just keep a very close eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
Let the casserole cool for a few minutes, then it’s ready to serve. Serve with a sharply dressed salad to counteract the richness of the dish. Enjoy!