This one dish meal is as hearty and man pleasing as they come. ( serves 8, or 6 hungry men )
6 – 8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick ( @ 8 cups )
1 medium onion, chopped ( @ 1 cup )
1 1/2 – 2 cups ham, diced in 3/8 – 1/2 inch cubes ( or turkey ham )
2 – 3 strips cured bacon, sliced crosswise in 1/2 inch pieces ( or turkey bacon )
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt ( or to personal taste )
1/2 teaspoon pepper ( or to personal taste )
1/4 teaspoon paprika (or to personal taste )
Directions : ( preheat oven to 375 degrees )
Prepare first four ingredients and set aside individually. In a 12 inch skillet on medium heat, fry bacon pieces with 1/4 cup of the chopped onion, stirring frequently. When onions start to become translucent and before bacon becomes crisp, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Return pan to heat and add butter. When butter is melted, sprinkle flour over butter, stirring constantly. Cook until brown and bubbly, ( about 1 minute ) then gradually and slowly whisk in the milk. Increase the heat slightly and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to thicken ( about 1 minute ). Stir in the cooked bacon mixture, then remove from heat and set aside.
Grease sides of a 9 by 14 inch casserole dish. Place 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom, then 1/2 of the ham bits, and 1/2 of the chopped onions. Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon out 1/3 of the white sauce evenly over the top. Repeat the process; potatoes, ham, onion, salt, pepper and sauce. Top with remaining potatoes and sauce, then sprinkle top with paprika. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until center of casserole is fork test tender. Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or it will be the temperature of the sun.