A casserole of potatoes, rice, and cheese

This recipe has been in my family for 100 years. The family legend was that it came from the Delmonico Hotel in New York, whose chef, Charles Ranhofer, had given it to my great-great grandfather under some circumstance in the 1880's. I recently managed to track down a cookbook by Ranhofer, published in 1893, and alas, it contains no recipe that even remotely resembles this one.

Who knows? Maybe my great-grandmother got it from a newspaper. I guess it doesn't matter much. I've watched 4 generations in my family grow fatter and happier eating these potatoes, so who cares where it came from `way back then.


(Serves 6)


  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked firm, about 20 or 30 minutes. Let them cool, then dice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Cook the rice in 1 cup of water with 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  3. Make 3 cups of medium white sauce: heat the milk in a saucepan; in another saucepan, melt butter and brown flour in it. When flour is brown, dump hot milk all at once into flour/butter mixture. Add salt and pepper, simmer for 10 minutes or more, stirring frequently.
  4. Into the white sauce, stir 1/2 pound of grated cheddar and the cooked rice. Mix well.
  5. Mix the sauce with the cold potatoes, then pour into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle generously with 1 1/2 pounds of cheddar. Bake 1 hour at
  6. Let it cool, and put it in the refrigerator. Wait at least a day. Then reheat and serve.


My grandmother always peeled the potatoes when she made this recipe; I never do. I think that women of her generation were taught by their home economics teachers that unpeeled potatoes were a sign of moral decay.

The most maddening thing about this recipe is how much better it tastes the second day. There is no reason why you can't eat it fresh out of the oven, but if you can muster the will power to put it aside after it has cooked and to let it wait a day, the flavor will improve dramatically.


Difficulty: easy.
Time: 1 hour to prepare, 1 hour to cook, 1 day to wait.
Precision: Approximate measurement OK.


Brian Reid 
DEC Western Research Laboratory, Palo Alto CA 
decwrl!reid -or- reid@decwrl.DEC.COM 
Recipe last modified: 2 Jan 86

Original header

From: reid@decwrl (Brian Reid)
Subject: RECIPE: Delmonico potatoes
Date: 14 Mar 86 05:13:50 GMT
Organization: Stanford University, Computer Systems Lab
Approved: reid@glacier.ARPA

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