Years ago, we read in the National Geographic that there are over a thousand varieties of potatoes. A thousand! Who knew? And then to top it off, the same article stated that one could get all the nutrition one needs from potatoes and milk. We’re pretty sure that the same article said that potatoes were the tastiest food ever. Okay, so we made up that last bit, but we happen to be real potato fans. And, they are tasty!
Of late, we’ve been getting sweet potatoes and red potatoes in our CSA share, so we wanted some way to use them both. Enter the Two-Potato Casserole.We first made this, oh, at least fifteen years ago — so long that we forget where we originally found the recipe, and, for some reason it dropped off the radar screen. Why? We don’t know. So, we decided that we would revive a nice standby that’s perfect for a potluck, or just for an easy, nutritious, dinner — it has both potatoes and milk. With that in mind, let’s get scratchin’.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 2 Tbs flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 bunch chopped, cooked spinach (a 10-ounce box will work)
Potatoes. Potatoes. You want about equal amounts of potatoes and sweet potatoes. As you’ll see in the photos, we used four smaller potatoes and two large sweet potatoes. We’d suggest you get organic spinach; they lead the pack of leafy greens in amount of pesticides present. The butter, flour, and milk combination should tip you off that we are making a cream sauce, so get ready. For the onions, we had some green onions, so we used those. Use what you have on hand.
Butter casserole dish. Butter the sides of a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish.
Cook potatoes. Place the potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until fork tender (but not soft), about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Cook spinach. If you’re using fresh spinach, roughly chop, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and run under cold water until cool. This shocks the spinach so it will retain a nice green color.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make cream sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Add milk in three additions, and cook until bubbly and thickened, about 15 minutes.
Peel potatoes. ‘Nuf said.
Layer casserole. Slice potatoes about 1/4-inch thick and layer about half of each type of potato in the casserole dish. Top with all the spinach, then about half of the cream sauce. Layer with the remaining potatoes and top with remaining cream sauce.
Bake. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly in the center. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer, or until top is browned.
Serve. Remove from the oven and serve.
While we like this recipe a lot, we only give it four stars; it’s just impossible for a potato casserole to compete with Potatoes Gratin and not be bested. That said, this is nice for the combination of sweet potatoes, which get very soft and silky, the spinach, which will make you strong like Popeye, and the regular potatoes which retain some of their firmness. And, if we can believe National Geographic, this dish must be a nutritional power-house.