Monday, March 10, 2008

Irish Casserole & Company Carrots

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and the South Side Irish Parade, I decided to do my best to 'theme' our meals. Last night was my first attempt at it, and I think it went well. Graham certainly seemed to like it!

I must admit that I made the casserole simply because I had all the ingredients on hand. However, it's so very Irish in many ways. It's got ground beef, potatoes, 'cream of' soup, celery, onion...all pieces of a hearty Irish meal! To accompany it, I made my grandma's 'Company Carrots' to complete the meal.

Irish Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup celery
2-4 potatoes, thinly sliced
2 T. celery leaves
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Brown the ground beef in a pan. Add onion, celery, and celery leaves and cook apprx. 5 minutes. Stir in soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt, and pepper, and remove from heat. Place half the potatoes in a greased 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Spoon half of meat mixture over potatoes. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, salt, and meat mixture. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until potatoes are tender.

  • I halved the recipe for our purposes, and switched it around so it would be Irish Casserole.
  • I didn't use the cerely leaves since ours were looking pretty pitiful. Instead I threw in a few small handfuls of chives, and that seemed to do the trick.
  • Next time, I'll do two things: use Cream of Broccoli soup and reduce the amount of milk in the casserole. We only had Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom sitting around. Normally I don't mind COM soup, but I didn't like the taste this left in the casserole. Also, while the milk made the casserole moist, I think it was too moist for our tastes.
  • Red potatoes would work well in this casserole. I used Russet since it's all we had.
  • I think there was also too much salt. I don't think you need to constantly pour salt over each layer of potatoes; mixing it in with the ground beef will do just fine.
  • I used beef we thawed, then browned and froze from a meal a few weeks ago. I added a little bit of vegetable oil to the pan to infuse some life back into it, and it worked out fine.
  • Next time, I might add some shreaded cheese in place of the soup. I think that would shake it up a little as well as add some life to the casserole.
Company Carrots
2 c. carrots, coins or strips, cooked
3 T. butter or margerine
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. paprika
juice of 1/2 lemon
Drain tender cooked carrots. Mix with butter, sugar, lemon juice, and paprkia. Saute approx. 10 minutes. Stir until all the carrots are well-coated.
  • This is my grandmother's recipe. She made it every time someone was coming for a visit so she called them her 'company' carrots. It's a very 1950s recipe.
  • I eyeballed the lemon juice. I find this works best for your tastes, rather than measuring it out.
  • I used a bag of baby carrots, and I've never been a fan of all the sugar in the recipe, so I only used 1 T.
  • I love these carrots. All the flavors work together, and no one flavor overpowers the whole recipe. This is good for an appetizer, side dish, or snack, IMO.

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