The city of Arequipa in southern Peru is known for this unique version of scalloped potatoes, which is prepared with a salty cheese called queso serrano (country cheese). Queso serrano is a key ingredient in other traditional recipes from Arequipa, including the corn and lima bean salad called solterito. The firm slices of cheese are layered with the sliced potatoes, and then a rich mixture of eggs and milk is poured over it all before baking.This is a nice dish for holidays and family gatherings, or paired with a salad for a simple, satisfying supper. It reheats well and even tastes good cold.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: 1 9x13 inch casserole
- 3 pounds of white or yellow potatoes
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoons anise seeds
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 3 eggs
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound queso blanco cheese, or other semi-firm, white, salty cheese like farmer's cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Slice the onion into 4 pieces and add the pieces to the water, along with 1 teaspoon salt, the peeled garlic cloves, and the anise seeds. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the potato slices until they are just barely tender.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
- Place the evaporated milk, corn starch, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter and spread the butter with a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Slice the cheese into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Place a layer of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the casserole, and cover them with a layer of sliced cheese. Repeat with more layers of potatoes and cheese until the casserole is full, pressing down on the layers to fit them in snugly. End with a layer of cheese slices.
- Pour the milk mixture over the layers of potatoes and cheese. Top the casserole with the grated Monterey jack cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cover the casserole with a piece of foil and bake until the casserole is bubbly and hot, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more until the top of the casserole is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.