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Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

We’re kickin’ it old-school today, friends.  If there was one dish that would represent the Midwest (or are we called the North now?) hotdish would definitely win the title.  I think I do a respectable job of exposing my family to worldly cuisines, but to be honest I’m a product of North Dakota and Minnesota, so there’s something that I find so comforting in a good hearty, potato hotdish.  It’s a bit of nostalgia from my childhood, but it also just tastes so good.

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

Hotdish can be made from a variety of ingredients– pasta, rice, or potatoes are generally combined with vegetables and proteins and a sauce of some sort.  My favorite is this one made with potatoes.  It holds together so well and the leftovers are fantastic.  Pasta hotdish leftovers, as you can imagine, become a bit mushy.  But potato versions?  They just keep getting better.

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

The hamburger potato hotdish of my childhood isn’t exactly the version I’m sharing with you today.  My mom would make a version, probably like most of the other moms in the Midwest, using a couple cans of condensed soup.  You know the brand.  It was fine.  It was lovely.  I’m thankful that she made us delicious food.  Do I make my own hotdish using that can of condensed soup? You already know I don’t because I like to keep processed food to a minimum in my house.  Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak and I hate that I can’t control what’s going into that soup.  Maybe I hate that it has been setting on a shelf for weeks, months, or longer.  Maybe I hate preservatives.  Or maybe it’s just so easy to mix up my own– it takes just a few minutes and it tastes about 1,000x better?

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

My point is, with whole ingredients, this hotdish is sensational.  This is mid-winter Midwest food at it’s best.  We love the peas and carrot version that I’ve photographed here.  But another classic combination that we enjoy is fresh green beans and corn.  So good!  Also, give brussel sprouts a try, as well– amazing.  You can really modify this recipe to suit your family’s taste.  Try using sweet potatoes instead of white. The same goes for the mushroom sauce– use any type of flour that your prefer to thicken it.  Make it gluten-free, if that’s what you need.  As I’ve mentioned before, the leftovers are incredible.  If this is your first time embarking on a hotdish, I hope you enjoy this delicious and legendary dish.  Bon Appétit!

Hamburger Potato Hotdish | Relishing It

The Recipe: Hamburger Potato Hotdish

(serves 4-6)

2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
black pepper
6-8 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes, evenly sliced (don’t even bother peeling them)
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced small
1 10-ounce bag frozen peas, no need to thaw
chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Mushroom Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour (AP, White Whole Wheat, or Gluten-Free all work)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup finely chopped crimini mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme or fresh
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (don’t use dried– just omit if you don’t have any)
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain the fat when finished. Add the onion, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes until the vegetables become somewhat aromatic. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter.  When melted, whisk in the flour. When it bubbles, slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the thyme, rosemary, and mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue stirring while the entire mixture becomes hot and starts to form bubbles. It will be done when the sauce has thickened a bit, about 5-10 minutes.

Place the meat mixture in a casserole dish, roughly 11 x 8 x 2.  Then toss the carrots and peas evenly over the meat. Layer the sliced potatoes next until they reach top of the dish. You may need more or less potatoes depending upon the size of your dish. Place the casserole on a large baking sheet to catch any drips while it bakes. Slowly and evenly pour the mushroom sauce over the potatoes. You may want to gently tap the dish to coax the sauce down in between the potatoes.  It will settle in more as it bakes, so don’t worry. Cover with a lid or use a tented piece of foil. Bake for about 1 hour, but remove the lid when there are just 10 minutes left to bake. Test the doneness of the potatoes using a fork.  Bake longer if need be. Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving, or the juices will run everywhere. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

This dish takes me back to my college years, except this is the grown-up version.  One of my go-to meals in college was a bowl of pasta with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan– eaten with some of my girlfriends, of course.  There was rarely a time that I wasn’t in the mood for it and it always hit the spot.  So very simple.  A few many years later, this still remains a favorite comfort meal of mine, with a few tweaks, of course.

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

A delicious stunner of a meal doesn’t have to be complicated or take up your entire night to prepare.  This dish takes only minutes. In fact, in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta you are finished.  Not bad, right?

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

The robust flavors are what make me love this dish.  Pungent garlic, spicy chili peppers, bright lemon juice and zest, fresh nutty parmesan, vibrant parsley, and even an anchovy (if you are so inclined) give this meal a wonderful depth.  You can customize it to fit your family’s needs, of course.  Not into spicy food?  Go ahead and skip the peppers.  I generally double the amount of spice when I make it for myself– I can’t get it hot enough.  The main trick of this dish, is to know that the finished pasta has to be thinned out with some reserved pasta water.  This is key.  The pasta water (containing all of its starches) clings to the pasta and creates a light, creamy sauce with the parmesan and olive oil.  It’s magical.  So, don’t be afraid to loosen it up with that water– it’s a necessity!

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chiles, and Lemon | Relishing It

Another tip to know is that the garlic, onion, chili pepper, lemon zest, and hot pepper flakes need to be sautéed in the olive oil while the pasta is cooking.  This is important because it infuses the oil with a ton of flavor, but you’ll want to keep the temperature on the low side, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  This is a perfect meal when you are in the mood for delicious comfort food, but are a bit short on time.  Admittedly, this is not one of Radd’s favorite pasta dishes, which stuns me because it’s so amazing (he tends to lean toward the meat-full varieties), so I’ve written the recipe to serve one.  You can easily adjust if you are aiming for a larger portion.  Hope you enjoy!

Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon | Relishing It

The Recipe: Simple Pasta with Garlic, Chilies, and Lemon

(serves 1)

3 ounces long pasta (thin spaghetti works well here)

about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, use more if needed

2 tablespoons finely minced red or white onion, or shallot

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 small anchovy, finely minced (optional, of course)

1 red chili pepper, finely minced (scale back or add more according to taste)

sprinkle of hot pepper flakes

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup good quality parmesan or grana padano cheese

large handful of freshly chopped parsley

1 cup of reserved pasta water (you most likely will not use all of it)

salt and pepper

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  While the water is heating, chop the ingredients.

Add the dry pasta to the boiling water, be sure to add salt.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a small skillet with olive oil and add the garlic, onion, chili peppers, hot pepper flakes, lemon zest, and anchovy (if using).  Sauté over low-medium heat, stirring regularly.  Keep a watchful eye, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  You want to infuse the olive oil with all the flavors.  The vegetables should be tender by the time the pasta is finished cooking, or even a bit before.

Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside.  Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the vegetables.  Add most of the cheese (reserving some to sprinkle on top), lemon juice, and a bit of the pasta water.  Combine using tongs.  Add more water, if you want it looser.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and top with the remaining parmesan, fresh parsley, and more red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

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Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary | Relishing It

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite beef roast recipes that somehow has not found it’s way onto the blog already.  And that is a pity, because it’s one of my go-to roast recipes.  There are so many wonderful things to love about this dish.  Let me start by saying that this recipe (like most recipes) can be braised in a Dutch oven or a slow cooker.  I generally make it on the oven, but have on occasion made it in a slow cooker.  Both versions are incredibly delicious.  So, depending upon your needs, you have the option to cook it however you like.  This dish is also a perfect make-a-day-ahead dish, as it reheats beautifully and the flavors get even better the next day.

Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary | Relishing It

There are a wonderful array of flavors that are combined with this roast.  I’m guessing you are figuring out that I love the combination of red wine and rosemary together since one of my recent posts also featured these flavors.  I can’t help it, they are perfect with beef.  I chop up carrots, celery, onion, and garlic into very small pieces that break down into a wonderful, delicious sauce. Fresh rosemary and thyme and a bay leaf are added to the vegetables, along with the red wine and a dab of tomato paste.  Left to braise for just a few hours in the oven, or all day in the slow-cooker, the beef becomes tender and you are left with a very rich and flavorful sauce.  The next step is up to you– there are a few options.  When the roast is done cooking, remove it from the pan.  At this point you can purée the sauce if you don’t want tiny bits of vegetables, or reduce it if you want it thicker.  However, here’s what I do.  I combine a bit of butter and a bit of flour (equal parts) with a fork until they form a paste.  I whisk that into the sauce, to thicken it just slightly.  And that’s it.  I don’t strain or purée it, because I really enjoy the chunky texture of the cooked down vegetables.  I re-season with salt and pepper and add some fresh parsley to brighten it up.  We love this meal.  Truly, it’s one of our favorites.  The red wine need not be expensive, something dry works well.  And as always, something you’ll want to drink, because there will be a bit leftover.

Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary | Relishing It

Along with braising some beautiful dishes this winter, I’ve taken up sourdough bread-baking using wild yeast.  This has been so fun and exhilarating.  I absolutely love to learn new techniques in the kitchen.  Back in the day before commercial yeast existed, this is how people had to make their bread –capturing and manipulating wild yeast spores that were in the air, on the flour, and even on their skin.  It is all very fascinating to me.  A lot of observing has gone into this process.  Being able to know when my starter is ready to be used or when it is hungry and needs to be fed.  Dealing with a cold, Minnesota house and predicting how long it will take my dough to get to the point where it is ready to be baked.  I’ve enjoyed the process and we all have enjoyed the bread.  And now it’s become part of our routine.

Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary | Relishing It

I hope you make this beef roast and either bake up some warm crusty bread or buy yourself a loaf, because that sauce will be begging for some.  Enjoy!

Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary | Relishing It

The Recipe: Braised Beef Roast with Red Wine and Rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil

3-6 pound beef roast, preferably grass-fed (no need for an expensive cut)

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

4-5 fresh rosemary sprigs (either left whole or leaves removes and minced)

small bunch of fresh thyme (either left whole or leaves removed and minced)

1 dried bay leaf

2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste

2 cups red wine

2 cups water

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons softened butter

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons flour

fresh parsley, for serving

Slow-Cooker Method: I’m not going to list cooking times in this recipe.  Most everyone’s slow-cooker cooks at a different rate and the size of your beef will effect the amount of time needed, as well. If cooking entirely on low– I’d give yourself 12 hours or so.  You may want to do a combination of slow/high temperatures, if wanting to shorten the length of time.  Dry off the beef and season liberally with salt and pepper.  In a deep pan, such as a dutch oven, add some olive oil and when the pan is hot, brown all the sides of the beef.  You want a deep caramel color.  Remove the beef from the pan and place it into the slow-cooker. Add the vegetables and a bit more olive oil to the hot pan. Cook just a few minutes until softened a bit. Then add the tomato paste, red wine, and water and bring to a boil, scraping up anything on the bottom of the pan.  Pour it over the beef in the slow-cooker and cook either on high or low, or whatever works best when cooking meat in your slow-cooker.  Add the rosemary, thyme, (they can be left whole, just remove the stems before serving, or remove leaves and mince, if you don’t enjoy large rosemary leaves) bay leaf, and a bit of salt and pepper. The beef is done when it is very tender and can be easily maneuvered with a fork. If it doesn’t feel tender, leave it a bit longer.

Dutch Oven Method:  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Add the olive oil to the pan and heat.  Dry off the beef and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Brown all the sides until it reaches a deep caramel color.  Remove beef from pan.  Add more olive oil, if necessary and sauté the vegetables for a few minutes until softened.  Add the tomato paste, red wine, and water and bring to a boil, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.  Place the beef back into the Dutch oven, along with the rosemary, thyme (they can be left whole, just remove stems before serving, or remove leaves and mince, if you don’t like large rosemary leaves) bay leaf and a bit of salt and pepper. Cooking time will vary depending upon how big of a piece of beef you braise.  Begin checking at 2 hours for a smaller one, larger ones will take around 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or more.  The beef will be done when it is very tender and can be maneuvered easily with a fork.  If it doesn’t feel tender, braise it longer.

Before serving for both methods:  remove the beef and scrape off any visible fat.  You may reduce the sauce if you want, or purée it.  I don’t.  Remove and discard the bay leaf and any rosemary or thyme stems (if there are any) from the pan.  In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour with a fork until a paste forms and whisk it into the liquid over medium-high heat on the stovetop.  If using the slow-cooker method, it is a good idea to transfer the sauce to a pan and place on the stovetop when adding the butter/flour mixture over medium-high heat.  Re-season with salt and pepper (sometimes a lot of salt is needed to bring out the flavor, but don’t worry– it’s a big piece of beef) and add fresh parsley before serving.  This roast goes beautifully with regular mashed potatoes or a potato mash combined with parsnips or celery root.  One more note, this is a perfect make-a-day-ahead meal, as the flavors get even better after sitting overnight. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing ItWith the exception of this past warm weekend– a farewell gift from summer as it left– my mind has been drifting towards cool-weather comfort food.  You know, those meals that you can settle in to and cozy up with in the evening.  I’m ready for less running about, more family meals at the table, and that smell that you greets you at the door and permeates the house– when you know something delicious awaits you for dinner.  Yes, I’m ready for fall food.  I’m ready to eat hot soups and sip hot drinks.  I’m ready to braise things again.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Enchiladas may seem like an odd place to start, but for me, it’s a perfect seasonal-transition meal.  It’s warm, substantial, and very much a comfort food.  I intended to share this really quick enchilada sauce with you last year, but didn’t get to it.  If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’m a big proponent of making homemade sauces.  It takes just a little extra effort, and the results are almost always worth it.  They taste so much fresher than store-bought jars, and I like having control over exactly what goes into them.  This homemade enchilada sauce is no exception.  It tastes delicious and comes together in a matter of minutes.  This is a quick enchilada sauce, made from already ground spices, which works well for weeknight meals.  I have a fantastic recipe coming up later in the week for you that uses this sauce. It’s a perfect meal for those crisp, autumn nights.  Be well, everyone.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

(makes 3 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

3 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 bay leaf

15 ounces organic tomato sauce (plain)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 dried bay leaf

kosher salt, to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bay leaf and blend ingredients together with an immersion or regular blender. Season with more kosher salt, if necessary.  At this point, the sauce is ready to use.  Refrigerate it to use later in the week, or freeze for another time. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by to say hello or just to peek around!

Laurie

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