The smell of comfort food coming out of the oven at dinnertime creates the anticipation of pleasure, but when the weather is chilly, or downright cold, this pleasurable anticipation is elevated to a whole new level. But how do we make the act of creating this wonderful experience joyful? We enlist someone or someones to cook with us; we can enlist children, spouses, or friends. But what if they aren't as precise as we are - or, even worse, much more precise? What if they use three pans instead of one? It's important to focus on making the occasion joyful and also letting them understand they're involved in the clean up. If we can make cooking a joyful experience for others, we will enjoy our cooking more and reap the benefits of great home cooked food. The following is a favorite old standby in lots of homes. This is a recipe for six that fits nicely in a 10.5 inch baking pan, but my mother used to make them in individual ramekins and put our initials in the mashed potatoes on top. This is a great memory you can make together with family and friends.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add potatoes to large pot and cover with water and boil over high heat until potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes.
4. While potatoes are boiling, dice the onions and carrots.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and carrots sauté about 2 minutes and add the meat and cook until the meat is brown.
6. Add beef broth and bring to boil over medium-high heat stirring well, lower heat medium and stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire, stir well and mixture begins to thicken.
7. Add peas and corn, stirring until well combined.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste*, remove from heat and put in a baking dish.
9. Drain the potatoes well and add butter, milk, and HALF the cheese and mash until desired consistency and salt and pepper to taste*
10. Spread the potatoes over the meat and sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top of the potatoes. Place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown.
(* since in our house we add less salt than is common, 1/4 teaspoon usually works for us, but I do recommend you taste and add the salt and pepper by 1/4 teaspoons until it tastes good to you.)
#StoneSoupBlog #comfortfood #cookingtogether
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.