Sunday, October 11, 2015

Funeral Potatoes, Mormon Beer and Sundays in Utah

I've been living in the beautiful State of Utah for a little over two years now, and still come across customs that are new and strange to me.

My husband is frustrated with "Mormon Beer."  It seems that here in Utah you can not buy a beer on tap that is over 3% alcohol content...if you want a beer that is more it must be imported and in a bottle!

For me, some of the foods have been interesting. For instance "Funeral Potatoes!"  This was a term I had never heard before moving to Utah.  There are dozens of different recipes for these potatoes, but it seems the name originates from the fact the at virtually EVERY meal served after a funeral, these are an absolute must!  I am going to include a couple of these recipes at the end of this post so that you can see there is nothing "funeral" about them, except for the fact of the time they are always served.  I will tell you, however, there are a few restaurants in Utah that have "Funeral Potatoes" on their menus!

One of the funniest experiences in food I have had here is what the locals call a Scone.  Now, in every other part of the world, a scone is a small, biscuit like treat frequently served with tea.  In Utah, however, it is a HUGE piece of fry bread ( I mean it is the size of a dinner plate) served with about a half cup of honey butter on top of it.  Not exactly a diet friendly food for sure.

Sundays in Utah remind me of the old "Blue Laws" that were in place when I was growing up.  Most of the local restaurants and shops here are closed all day on Sunday, and so is the train which provides public transportation between here and Provo.  Chain restaurants like Applebee's and Chili's remain open, but all the locals close.

So, on this Sunday, as I watch the "Hallmark Channel" movie about the Amish, I have decided to share a little "Utah" with you!

Funeral Potatoes
2 pounds hashbrown potatoes (unbrowned)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 pint sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (Cream of Mushroom soup can be substituted for a vegetarian option)
1/2 cup grated yellow onion (or minced very fine)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cup crumbled corn flakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl combine cornflakes and butter.  In a separate bowl combine other ingredients.  Press into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Top with cornflake mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 cups whole milk
3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup American cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cup crushed cornflakes cereal
Place the potatoes in a large pot.  Cover with water, add salt, then bring to a boil on the stovetop until tender enough to be pierced with a fork.  Drain the potatoes.  Transfer to a deep baking dish.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1/2 the stick of butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onions and saute until softened over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour to make a thick, pasty roux.  Slowly begin whisking in the milk.  Continue whisking the milk until the mixture thickens slightly.  Stir in the cheeses.  Salt & pepper to taste.
Pour the cheese mixture over the potatoes.  Stir the potatoes slightly until they are well coated with the cheese mixture.
In a small, microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining butter, then stir in the crushed cornflakes.  Sprinkle atop the potatoes.  Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the cornflakes have turned golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.
THERE are probably as many recipes for these "Funeral Potatoes" as there are Mormons in Utah, and these are just a couple of the typical ones!  

I intend to try a few of the recipes, but it won't be for after a Funeral!  Potato Casserole anyone?


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