Monday, January 31, 2011

Bite Me!

I'm a pretty darn good cook. I'm not always a frou frou cook but I'd say  I have about a 93.74% approval rating. I use recipes sometimes but most of the time I just scan the contents of my veggie bins, pantry and fridge and make something on the fly.

Tonight's selection was a combination of the classic scalloped potato and a sheppard's pie. I had some ground beef, random veggies, a block of horseradish cheddar and a pile of potatoes.

I actually made this for the first time last week and it was quite fabu so this time I thought I'd take a few shots and blog it up. It's easy, it's cheap, and it makes a ton (for us at least) of leftovers. We're going to call it

The Scalloped Sheppard

Like I said, I don't have a real recipe so just follow along with the pics and you'll be able to recreate it, promise!

1- dice up some onions (1 medium), carrots (3 sticks), celery (2 stalks) and saute on medium in a pan with a little olive oil until they get just slightly softened. Add a few minced cloves of garlic right at the end along with salt, pepper and whatever other spices you like. I used- parsley, paprika, and a heaping Tbsp of my favorite curry of all time. I know, curry is one of those things you either like it or you don't so if you don't, just skip it.  If you do, I would highly recommend you source this one out:

The best! (thank you R E-B)

2- I don't know why I didn't photograph this but, next you brown the ground beef or turkey whatever you like (about 1- 1.5 lbs.) in the pan with the vegetables, I use a 95% lean G.B. so I don't need to drain it. If you have a fattier beef do it in a separate pan, drain it, then toss it in with the veggies so the flavors meld.

There it is! The browned ground beef lurking in the background.
3- Next prepare you pan. I butter it and then coat the sides with breadcrumbs. Same theory as buttering and flouring a cake pan (side note: I never flour a cake pan I butter and then use granular sugar instead of flour it looks prettier when it comes out of the pan).
The ideal pan for this would be a springform but I lost my good springform pan when we moved (how I don't know) and I've yet to replace it so I just improvised with this large Pyrex.

4- Shred a block of cheddar (the horseradish cheddar ROCKED b.t.w.) or whatever hard cheese you'd like to use.

5- Thinly slice ( 1/8th inch thick ) a bunch of potatoes. I just peel a few, keep them in a bowl with ice water (to stop them from browning) slicing each as I go this way I don't end up with a whole bunch of extra sliced potatoes at the end. Whole peeled will store for a few days if kept in an in an airtight container in the fridge. 

6- Layer in this order- potato, a dusting of sifted flour (to thicken the cheese sauce), sprinkle some cheese and a dash of pepper. When you add the next layer of potatoes gently press down on the lower levels just to pack it gently and make them lay more evenly.

Keep layering till you get to about to this point (see above). This is where you're going to put the layer of browned beef with the vege.  


7- You MUST pour milk very gently over this layer until you fill the bowl (or pan) just up to the potatoes on this top layer. This is what makes your cheese sauce giving it that classic scalloped potato goodness.

8- Now add the browned ground beef leaving just enough room for one last layer of potatoes (what's with me not taking photos of the beef?!?!). Place the last layer of potatoes and then top with your remaining cheese. I had to use grated Parmesan for the top layer since I used up all the shredded cheese on the lower levels. No biggie- we're winging it remember?

see the milk level on those bottom layers?

9- Cook in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for about an hour at which point I want you to check it by inserting a sharp knife down in though the center. It should go in nice and smooth like you were slicing a baked potato. If there is resistance then add another 15 minutes and check again. The one I did took 1.25 hours just so you have something to go off. 

 10- Done, but not quite because here's the hardest part. You want to let it sit for a half hour so that it gets a bit "solid". If you cut it too early it'll just fall apart. You want to be able to slice it and have it sorta keep it's wedge shape.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock....DING!
 Not bad huh? Are you going to give it a try?

P.S. Thanks for not pointing out my oven and stovetop need a good scrubbing. I already know and besides, how rude would that be of you since I just shared my recipe?


Appletree said...

perfect for a snowy day!

Jenny said...


my favorite and my best said...

yes. yum is right. i am impressed by your lack of need for recipes. impressed indeed.
and your oven is 99.999% cleaner than mine.

Mommy Diarist said...

I want to try this as it seems easy enough.
Can you use 1% milk or does it need to be whole milk for a Yummier heartier taste?

The Townhouselady said...

I used 1%. I'm sure that whole would have been richer but whatever man. Use what you have.

Jill said...

That looks fantastic...I'm really hungry. Made brats and polenta with sauteed peppers tonight for Super Bowl.

MerciBlahBlah said...

Um, YUM. I haven't visited your blog in ages, and I'm so glad I did. Totally stealing your recipe.