Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes (adapted from Sunset Cook Book, 1949)


Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes is a dump-and-go potato side dish suitable for Sunday dinner.  It’s a labor-saving alternative to more sophisticated sides, and while it lacks the panache of a good pan of scalloped potatoes or funeral potatoes it will still scratch the itch for a creamy, starchy side.  The recipe comes to me by way of the Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes, published in 1949.  The post-war era was certainly big on convenience, but the recipe is somewhat out of place for the Sunset brand.  Sunset Magazine was and is an upscale lifestyle magazine showcasing the unique luxury of living on the American West Coast.  It was not particularly snooty or exclusive, but was more likely that its contemporaries to focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients than canned soups and veggies.  Most of the other recipes in Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes follow this fresh and fancy esthetic, but I was in need of a low effort side and found this one too good to be true.

It’s hard to even call this a recipe:  slice potatoes, salt and pepper, cover with soup, bake a very long time.   The cream of mushroom soup adds an inoffensive, woodsy taste and provides an unassuming creamy backbone to what’s otherwise just boiled potatoes.   I’ve made a couple of adjustments to adapt this for my family.  I’ve doubled the amount of potatoes while backing off a little bit on the liquid added to the soup.  I also recommend using a low sodium canned soup and then adding salt to your liking when seasoning the potatoes.  I’m not sure that this ends up being any healthier if you just add all of the salt back, but it gives you more of a measure of control over the final flavor profile.  Most significantly, I added a fresh mushroom topping to make the dish more visually appealing and provide some much needed texture.  Canned mushrooms would have been much more common in the 1940s, but I choose to take advantage of the embarrassingly abundant ingredient selection available to the twenty-first century shopper.

Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes is a dish that’s only as good as the entree it supports.  No one in their right mind would eat a plate of these potatoes unaccompanied, but they were a perfect creamy palate cleanser between bites of salty ham.   Pork chops or steak would also be a worthy pairing.  Add a simple salad or green vegetable to balance out the meal.  Enjoy!

Mushroom Scalloped Potatoes (adapted from Sunset Cook Book, 1949)

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Ready in: 15 min
  • For: 8 hearty side dish servings
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F
  2. Scrub the potatoes and remove any eyes. Peel if desired. Slice thin, like for scalloped potatoes.
  3. Add potatoes in layers to a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish, adding salt and pepper after each layer.
  4. Mix the two cans of cream of mushroom soup with one can of water, stir well and warm on the stovetop until bubbly. SPour over top of the potatoes, adding additional water until the potatoes are covered completely.
  5. Bake, covered for one hour.
  6. Remove cover and add mushrooms on top of the potatoes. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes more until potatoes are soft and the top and edges of the casserole are lightly browned.

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