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Potatoes Au Gratin


6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or half-and-half
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs


Place sliced potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a cooking pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until just tender. Drain, saving the liquid.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to blend. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until flour turns golden brown. Add 1 cup of the reserved potato liquid and whisk until smooth. Continue stirring until the mixture boils and starts to thicken.

Whisk in the half-and-half and continue cooking and stirring until mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low; stir in the cheese a little at a time, letting each addition melt before adding the next. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and stir gently to distribute evenly. Pour into a greased casserole dish.

Melt the remaining butter in a small skillet. Add the bread crumbs and toss until bread crumbs absorb the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve.

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