Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring
The Salt Table’s Hostess City Southern Hospitality Blend
This is based on the taste memories of the frugal casseroles my mother would invent in an effort to get her picky child (me) to actually eat budget-friendly hamburger meat. She would have loved having Hostess City Southern Hospitality Blend to simplify the seasonings. It’s a perfect mate for beef and potatoes. Other great Salt Table blends for this are Southern Herb Garden, All Round Good Grinder Blend, Southern Italian, and River Street Cobblestone Blends.
- 2½ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large)
- Salt Table Fine Sea Salt
- Canola, olive, or other vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably chuck)
- Salt Table Hostess City Southern Hospitality Blend
- 2 tablespoons butter or drippings from browning meat (see step 2)
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small
- 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons instant-blending or all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1½ cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar
How to make it:
- Peel and slice the potatoes ¼-inch thick. Put them into a 2½-3-quart saucepan, cover with water, add a large pinch of Sea Salt, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a steady simmer and cook until the potatoes are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350° F. Film a large skillet with about 1 tablespoon of oil and put it over medium heat. When it’s hot, raise the heat to medium high and crumble in enough beef to cover the bottom without crowding. Brown it lightly and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Season lightly with Hostess City Southern Hospitality Blend. Repeat with the remaining beef. Drain off the fat, then put 2 tablespoons of butter or return 2 tablespoons of the drippings to the pan. (Let the remaining drippings cool and discard them.)
- Adjust the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté until softened and golden, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until bubbly and smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk and broth and it bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until thickened and adjust the heat to a simmer. Season well with Hostess City Southern Hospitality Blend Blend, stir, and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and turn off heat.
- Smear the bottom of a rectangular 2-quart casserole with a little sauce. Cover it with a layer of potatoes and scatter 1/3 of the meat over them. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the cheese and spoon 1/3 of the sauce over. Add a second layer of potatoes, another 1/3 of the meat, 1/3 of the cheese, and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat once more with the remaining potatoes, meat, and sauce, then sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake in the center of the oven until bubbly to the center and the topping cheese is lightly browned. Let it rest 10 minutes before serving.