Apparently funeral potatoes are frequently served at postburial dinners and church potlucks, but I grew up eating them at a much happier occasion: Christmas. These potatoes have a decadent flavor, but they take only minutes to throw together, making them a perfect weeknight indulgence. The creamy casserole with its crunchy, salty topping is a perfect accompaniment for glazed ham, but it's also substantive enough to eat as a main dish accompanied by green beans or a salad.
Some versions of this dish include grated onion or minced garlic, but I find that a sprinkle of chives or green onions provides a subtler grassy flavor that won’t overpower the flavor of the cheese. Frozen hash browns make this dish come together in a snap. If you’d prefer to use whole potatoes and shred them yourself, see the variation in the pro tips below.
Pro tip: If you’d prefer to use fresh potatoes, boil three large red potatoes whole, with skins on, until just tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Cool, peel and shred using a box grater. Follow the recipe as instructed above, replacing hash browns with shredded potatoes.