This is a recipe I would have never, ever normally tried, despite the fact that it did actually look pretty good. However, two things caused me to rethink my continued ignoring of this beloved, popular, and by all accounts delicious dish.
The first is the fact that the readers of this website seem fairly obsessed with potato recipes. Seriously, I hear requests for breakfast potato recipes all the time.
And the second is that with Maelstrom being retired forever, to be replaced with a “Frozen” attraction, I’m feeling a little nostalgic for all things that remind me of the Norway pavilion.
With all the attractions that have phased in and out over the years, Maelstrom is the one I think I’ll most regret not being able to do one more time.
This breakfast potato recipe comes from Akershus, a restaurant that sometimes doesn’t get the credit it deserves for the expansive and unique food options available there. Every time I hear people talking about Akershus, it’s always related to the fact that it’s a Princess character breakfast.
Many times, I hear it mentioned as kind of the forgotten sister to the more popular Princess character breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle… Like “If you can’t get into the Castle because it’s booked, you can always try Akershus.”
While it did for awhile have a great boost due to the fact that it was located across the pavilion from everybody’s favorite Norwegian-inspired royalty meet-and-greet (Queen Elsa and Princess Anna), it seems to have again slipped to the status of consolation reservation for the people who can’t get the other booking.
However, people should really give this restaurant another look.
In truth, it has one of the largest, most expansive buffets on Disney property, and it’s got a huge range of approachable and exotic foods for people who want to try something different, but also the classics that are not only kid-friendly, but iconic Disney foods (and of course you know I mean Mickey waffles).
But if the food doesn’t impress you, the ambiance certainly should…
Honestly, the inside of Akershus is one of the most amazing, detailed, and flat out gorgeously authentic I’ve seen. It’s simply stunning. You’d never in a million years think a building with such a humble looking outside would be so gorgeous on the inside.
This potato casserole recipe is one of Akershus’s unique but signature dishes. Honestly, it’s
super easy, but holy cow… It makes enough to feed an army. Our family of 5 didn’t even make a dent on the amount that was prepared, despite the fact everybody had heaping servings. If I were to make this again, I’d halve the recipe for sure. And, if I were to make this again (which I probably will because the kids loved it…
Which is good, because they’ll be having leftovers all week and then some), I’m going to spread it out more, using a large serving dish, or maybe even two casserole dishes. When I did it in a big heap, it took forever for the middle to get warm and even by the time I served it, the potatoes were still a bit crunchy and raw.
Overall though, this was a great dish that was a real crowd pleaser. A somewhat fancier take on breakfast potatoes for sure, but I loved how creamy and rich it was with the hint of cheese.
It was savory without being overly salty, so it’s easy to pair with sweet breakfasts like Mickey waffles, while still working perfectly with the savory breakfasts like ham and eggs.
Anybody who’s eaten a breakfast at Akershus will recognize this flavor and maybe even look around and wonder where the Princesses are!
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Breakfast Potato Casserole
As is served at Akershus, Norway Pavilion, EPCOT
- 1 1/2 pounds diced prepared potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds shredded prepared potatoes
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 ounces shredded Jarlsberg cheese, divided
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
Preheat oven to 375.
In an oversided mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, 4 ounces of cheddar cheese, 7 ounces of the Jarlsberg cheese, the sour cream, heavy cream, and the salt and pepper. Mix well.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking to form a roux. Slowly add the milk and bring up to a light boil while whisking constantly to make a Bechamel sauce.
Once the sauce has thickened, allow to cool slightly, then pour over the potatoes. Mix again so the entire mixture is moistened evenly.
Pour into a greased casserole dish (use two if necessary, the layer of potatoes should not be more than 1.5 inches or so) and sprinkle reserved cheese evenly over the casserole.
Cover with greased aluminum foil, being careful that the cheese doesn’t come into contact with the foil, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until potatoes are softened and cooked through and casserole reaches internal temperature of 160 degrees.
After casserole has cooked completely, remove the foil and allow it to bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and browned slightly.