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Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Comfort Food Series: Poor Man's Dinner

How often do you come home from work on a weeknight and the last thing you want to do is slave over the stove to make dinner?  You still want something hot, homemade and comforting, but unfortunately you do not live with Paula Deen.  You’re not feeling pizza, Chinese delivery doesn’t sound good, you had Thai last night, you don’t feel like going anywhere for dinner…  This easy, delicious dinner is your answer.

This dish comes from the depression era when people would do all they could to make their meat stretch as far as possible.  A lot of really delicious dishes are the result of poor people doing what they can with the pieces of meat and vegetables they could afford.  Much of traditional French cooking is a result of peasantry turning cheap pieces of meat into delectable dishes.

Though this dish isn’t French, there is nothing fancy, or even, pretty, about it, you will find it comforting and soul warming.  They say that you eat with your eyes first, but you may want to leave your glasses on the table when feasting on Poor Man’s Dinner.  The finished product definitely isn’t a thing of beauty. You may know this dish’s cousin, Shit on a Shingle.  My family has always made our version with ground beef rather than dried chipped beef, and served with whipped potatoes instead of on a piece of toast.  There are a ton of variations for this recipe, but here you will find my family’s favorite way to enjoy this dish.  Though it isn’t fancy or pretty, I hope you will give this recipe a try!

Poor Man’s Dinner
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth (Can substitute milk for broth for creamier gravy)
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ stick of butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise (Hellman’s will do in a pinch)
Salt and White Pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, salting and peppering generously.  Move to edge of pan.  Add flour and whisk with pan juices.  Allow flour to brown.  Mix flour mixture in with ground beef.  Slowly add broth until gravy has formed to the thickness of your liking.  Simmer to thicken.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, add butter and whip with an electric
mixer until smooth.  Slowly add heavy whipping cream until the potatoes reach desired creaminess.  Add mayonnaise, salt and pepper; whip until incorporated.  NOTE:  Taste along the way to make sure your potatoes are seasoned to your liking.

Serve ground beef mixture over whipped potatoes.  Enjoy!

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