Posts Tagged ‘Peas’

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!

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Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

I’ve mentioned here more than once that as the weather warms, I try to prepare more simple, fresh foods.  This spread is a perfect example.  I love peas.  Their slightly sweet flavor, that beautiful pop of color– they make every dish better.  When they start to become available at the local farmers markets, we eat them by the pound.  But– and here’s some real talk now– they rarely make it into a recipe.  By the time we’re done shelling them, they have been mostly eaten raw.  And if not, they’re a stand-alone side for our summer meals.  Here, I wanted to keep things simple, yet incorporate peas as the star ingredient.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

For this dish I’ve added a few simple ingredients and a different style of preparation in order to turn ordinary peas into a delicious and healthy appetizer.  Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, mint, and a bit of anchovy really work with the subtle flavor of peas. Don’t be scared of the anchovy– it adds depth, a bit of saltiness, but doesn’t taste fishy.  Add a few other nibbles, and you’ve got yourself a meal.  Make them with your freshly shelled peas, if you have them, or just rely on a bag of frozen organic ones from the freezer.  It just takes a few minutes from start to finish to get this delicious spread on the table.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

My favorite way to serve this spread is on a grilled baguette brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper.  It is heavenly.   And if you’re worried about the bread, no problem.  I also serve it along with other vegetables, including radishes and endive.  It’s brilliant.  As for the endive, if you’re not familiar with it, you should become so.  It’s a wonderful vegetable that is fantastic served with spreads– the shape makes it easy to fill.  It tastes great, and is a wonderful option if you are gluten-free or just trying not to consume as much wheat.  These smashed summer peas are a delicious healthy option for your 4th of July celebration (for my American friends) this weekend.   It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and over-indulge on chips, burgers, and all other sorts of less-healthy foods in the midst of celebrating.  With this on your table, you don’t have to worry about it.  Hope you enjoy!

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

The Recipe: Smashed Summer Pea Spread

10 ounces fresh or frozen organic peas (If using fresh, blanch for a minute or so.  If using frozen, just thaw)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 large sun-dried tomatoes, minced

1-2 anchovies, finely minced

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

juice of 1/4 small lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large mint leaves, finely minced

In a medium-sized bowl, add the peas, garlic, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, salt, olive oil, and mint.  Using a potato masher or fork, smash the ingredients together.   The final texture is up to you.  I like it to be a little bit creamy, with definite chunks of ingredients within it.  Taste and re-season, if necessary.  Serve it with endive, radishes, and grilled bread.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!



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This is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  It’s quick, easy, pretty healthy, and best of all it tastes fantastic.  The pea and mint combination is so refreshing– it’s perfect for this time of the year and will remind you of Spring.  Ideally, I like to use fresh peas in this dish, but frozen ones make an exceptional alternative.  And the little salty bites of crisp, smoky bacon are a nice contrast to the fresh flavors.

Now I love a good, rich carbonara– really, I do.  But this dish is not thick and creamy.  This is a much lighter version that contains very little cream and only one egg.  Despite this, it works remarkably well.   I reserve the heavy version for an evening when I feel like being a bit more indulgent,  but for our everyday meals, I cut back significantly.  The key to this recipe is to remember that it’s really just an outline.  Use as much bacon, mint, peas, and parmesan cheese as you like- it’s a matter of personal taste.  My family loves peas, so we use an entire package.  You can certainly add more parmesan, as well.  Just remember to loosen the pasta with reserved pasta water to get the level of creaminess that you want.  And most importantly, be ready to eat this dish immediately.  The creaminess will not last long, so it’s best served right away.

One last thing:  be sure to enter my cookbook giveaway I’m having to celebrate Relishing It’s First Anniversary– enter here!

The Recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Peas, and Mint

(Makes 4 servings)

1  pound of whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

1 10 ounce package of organic sweet peas

6-8 slices bacon, or more to taste

handful of grated parmesan or grana padano cheese (about 1/2 cup)

about 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 large organic egg lightly beaten with 1/4 cup organic heavy cream

a few grates of fresh nutmeg

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel.  Chop the bacon and set aside.   In a small bowl lightly beat the egg, cream, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on package.  Add the peas into the hot water when the pasta is one minute from being “al dente”.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water.  Drain pasta and peas and pour into the skillet the bacon was cooked into.  Pour the egg/cream/nutmeg mixture over the hot pasta and toss with thongs.  The hot pasta will cook the egg.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta more, if you desire.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta.  Top with the chopped bacon and chopped mint.  Eat immediately!  Enjoy.

Source:  Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners

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Confession time:  I may have a bit of an addiction to cookbooks.  Obviously I cook a lot, so this probably doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary.  Here’s the thing though, even when I acquire a new one (which seems to be happening more and more lately) I’m not satisfied.  I plow through it looking for ideas and admiring the photos, yet almost immediately want another.  This is true, no matter how good the book.  Yup, its an addiction.

There has been chatter lately that with the advent of electronic reading devices, cookbooks may become a thing of the past.  I guess the idea is that the internet (including blogs) and paperless “cookbooks” will make those comforting recipe tomes obsolete.  I disagree.  It seems that as a country, we’re becoming more interested in real, wholesome food.  As people become more comfortable with cooking at home again, I think they’ll return to beautifully written and photographed hard-copy cookbooks.  Sure, being able to find a meal based on ingredients you have on hand by using your computer is nice, but stumbling across a recipe that expands your horizons is what it’s all about.

Anyway…2010 was a stellar year for cookbooks.  Take a look at a few lists here or here.  Today’s recipe comes from one of my favorite new books– Harvest To Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer.  It’s a collaboration of recipes from America’s best chefs, farmers, and artisans.  It is an absolute stunner.

This dish uses pea shoots, which are in-season, locally.  Hopefully, you can get your hands on some of these little gems.  If you can’t, don’t worry.  You can still make it by simply omitting the pea shoots at the end.  Pea shoots are the leaves and tendrils of pea plants.  They are delicate and taste just like peas, but with a bit of a crunch.   Mixing them with salad greens is another way to really enjoy them.  In this dish they are sauteed for just a few seconds and then placed on top of this fantastic risotto.

The risotto itself has a pea puree  swirled into it.  My first thought was to skip making the puree and just add whole peas.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  The puree is lovely and gives the risotto a beautiful soft-green hue.  This dish comes together quickly, so go ahead and put the extra effort in by making the puree.   The herbs add loads of character to what would otherwise be a straight-forward risotto.  The fennel, in particular, really stands out.   The additional acidity of the white wine, countered by the rich flavor of the bacon really brings it together.  It’s creamy, salty, smokey, and fresh– all at once.

The Recipe:  Risotto with Pea Shoots and Bacon

(Serves 6)

2 cups fresh peas (or frozen)

4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 left whole and 2 chopped (2 tablespoons)

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice

2 cups dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire– though next time I’ll try a less aggresive style.  Perhaps a Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

1/4 pound bacon or pancetta (about 6 slices), diced

2 cups pea shoots

1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Course salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.  Drain and cool.  Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree; strain through a mesh strainer and discard and solids.  Set aside.

Wrap the whole parsley sprigs, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and fennel seeds tightly in cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.

Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the bouquet of herbs, the onions, and the garlic.  Cook until the onions and garlic are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat evenly with the onion mixture.  Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is almost completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, then add the warm broth 1 cup at a time, stirring the rice constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.  Continue to add broth, stirring until the rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.  ( Note: you may not need to use all of the broth.)

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon or pancetta until crisp, 5-8 minutes.  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then transfer to a small plate and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet and heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat; add the pea shoots and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.  Set aside.

When the rice is just cooked through, remove the bouquet of herbs,  then add the pea puree, chopped parsley, chives, and Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle the risotto into soup bowls.  Top each bowl with the crisp bacon or pancetta and pea shoots.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Harvest to Heat Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by!  I love your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment.  Have a fabulous weekend!


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