Tonight we had hot dish. For those of you without a Scandinavian background, hot dish is a category of food that appears at church (Lutheran, of course) potluck dinners. Growing up, hot dish meant leftover vegetables worked into tomato sauced-ground beef. And, for most of my extended family, hot dish is a favorite, easy weeknight meal.
But tonight’s hot dish was something special for me. Although my Norwegian grandmother might laugh at me for this, tonight’s hot dish was 100% local and over 50% from our own farm. The beef, potatoes and onion were local; the Poblano pepper and oregano were from the garden, as was the canned tomato sauce. But what set tonight’s meal apart was the Gouda. I made it almost two months ago from Brighty milk. It got a definite “thumbs-up” from Ed. In fact, he liked it so much we discussed cheese-aging chambers at dinner.
I made cheese and it was good. Pardon me, but I’m grinning over here.
In case you want to make “Hot Dish” for yourself, the recipe is pretty darn flexible and easy:
- 1 pd ground beef (locally grown, of course)
- 2 tbsp of leftover bacon grease or some sort of oil if your ground beef is very lean
- some onion, chopped (as much as you like)
- some garlic, chopped (if you like it and as much as you like)
- 1 tbsp of some fresh herb, such as oregano or marjoram or mexican oregano or
- 2 cups canned homegrown tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 3/4 pd of fingerling potatoes
- sliced or grated cheese to top it, as much as you like
In a large skillet brown the ground beef with the onions in the fat, if you’re using it. Add the chopped garlic and herbs. Once the ground beef is cooked through add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and potatoes. Cover the skillet and simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked. Top with cheese, then cover again and simmer a little longer until the cheese is melted, and serve.