In my neck of the woods, Funeral Potatoes means a mixture of convenience items mixed together and served by caring friends and neighbors to the grieving family after the funeral services.
It's basically a form of Au Gratin potatoes itself a variation on the classic Gratin Dauphinois (Wikipedia details link). I've never successfully made Gratin Dauphinois. It always curdles on me. I think it's because of my altitude and that the cream comes to a boil at a lower temp than lower elevations. So I've come to rely on a roux-based bechamel sauce to reinforce my sauce for these sorts of potato dishes.
I needed to hurry things along, so I chopped up potatoes and set them to simmer in some seasoned water.
This is about 10 cups total of 3/8 inch cubes raw russett potato. The water is seasoned with some kosher salt (1 teaspoon), onion powder (1/2 teaspon), garlic powder (1/4 teaspoon) and dried thyme (1/2 teaspoon) These are the flavors I wanted to infuse into the potato. Simmer the potatoes about 15 minutes. They'll be mostly cooked but not completely so at that point.
While that's coming to a simmer, I chopped up 4 green onions, green and white parts.
And minced 2 cloves of garlic. Whack the clove or garlic wtih the flat side of your chef knife. This breaks the clove up a bit and loosens the skin from the clove of garlic. Pick out the skin.
Chop it up.
Sprinkle it with kosher salt.
Drag the knife edge across the garlic and salt with some force. You'll feel and hear the salt grains cut apart and grind the garlic.
Repeat that a few times to create a garlic paste.
Melted 3 tablespoons of butter, whisked in 4 tablespoons of flour to form a roux.
Let it cook a minute or so to cook out the flour. In the last 30 seconds of that roux cooking, add the minced garlic and stir to develop it's flavor.
Add 2 cups of milk, whisk to form a bechamel.
Where funeral potatoes use a can of cream of something soup, I opt for a simplified Supreme Sauce (a form of veloute) instead, being a sort of comination of bechamel and chicken stock thickened with roux.
Season with 3 teaspoons chicken base. 1/2-1 teaspoon dried thyme, pepper to taste. Continue cooking until it thickens and starts to boil.
Add 2 cups sour cream and mix together.
Grate parmesan cheese. This is hard to give a consistent measure for as people's graters are different and so the result packs differently. So it's about an ounce to an ounce and a half of freshly grated parmesan. i grate mine on a Microplane grater. This will provide extra cheese impact in the dish without looking so heavily full of cheese and dense.
Add the cheese and the onions to the sauce.
Combine. Taste and correct seasoning as needed.
Add the drained potatoes to the mix--they should be about done now anyway or cook further as needed to the par-cooked stage.
Stir to combine.
Sprinkle on about 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese. This is mostly for looks so there will be strands of orange cheese in the casserole.
Pour all that into a 9x13 baking dish.
Top with grated cheddarBake at 350 until bubbly and the top has browned, about 30-40 minutes
Serve while hot.