Last Saturday I was a judge at the Utah’s Own Funeral Potato Cookoff at the Downtown Salt Lake Farmer’s Market.
funeral potatoes \ fyün-rəl pə-ˈtā-tōz \ : a baked cheesy potato casserole often served at family gatherings and luncheons following funerals.
I know they make similar potato casseroles around the country, but in Utah we jokingly/fondly call them Funeral Potatoes. Utah’s Own and the Salt Lake Ladies Who Lunch teamed up to host this fun event.
I consider myself somewhat of a Funeral Potatoes expert. Not only have I made this delicious comfort food numerous times, I have also help serve it at many funerals and gatherings held at our church. The ladies working in the kitchen are always amazed at the wide variety of funeral potato recipes the members bring, and of course, we often have the opporunity to sneak a little taste.
The recipe I usually make is one passed down to me from my sister-in-law and they have crushed potato chips on top. The winning recipe at the Utah’s Owns Funeral Potato cookoff used panko crumbs for a crispy topping.
The winning recipe also used homemade cream of chicken soup in her potatoes, which I’m sure added that little bit of extra creamy, deliciousness that took her potatoes to first place. The next time I make funeral potatoes, I’m giving Jessica’s recipe a try. The next time you need to feed a crowd some delicious comfort food, you should try them too.
Here’s Jessica’s winning recipe:
1 32 oz. package freshly shredded hash browns
2 cups cream of chicken soup (recipe below or 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup)
2 cups of shredded Monterrey and Cheddar cheese
2 cups Meadow Gold Sour Cream
1/2 cup of diced onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of Meadow Gold Unsalted butter, divided
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
3 cups chicken broth
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken
3 cups Meadow Gold heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper to tastes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350º. Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat. Add the hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cheese, salt and pepper and combine well. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Spread the mixture into a 9 x 13 (or similar) dish. Mix the panko with ½ cup melted butter and top the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes covered with foil. Uncover and bake for an additional 5- 7 minutes or until golden brown.
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes more.
Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley springs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the heavy cream into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Divide among soup bowls, sprinkle the top of each bowl with chopped parsley and serve immediately.