Scalloped Fennel Potatoes

 Fennel adds a light fresh flavor to this decidedly savory dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 medium shallot, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 cups half and half

1 package Dubliner cheese, 6 oz., grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

6 cups potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

1 cup fennel, thinly sliced

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Melt butter in a skillet. Add shallot and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add flour, whisking to combine, for one minute. Gradually add in half and half; cook, whisking constantly for several minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Fold in cheese until melted. Add salt, pepper and thyme.

3. Combine onion and fennel. Layer potato and fennel-onion mixture alternately in a lightly greased casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over top.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Remove foil.

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