So, in North Dakota (and, I think, Minnesota), a casserole is called “hot dish.” It’s a simple descriptive name, but it can be said so evocatively — and hot dish is exactly what this raw end of winter needs, if you ask me. Last week was, if I can be blunt, a bit of a bitch, and warm comfort food was definitely called for, for sanity’s sake. And all comfort food in my world must include potatoes. This hot dish features a casserole staple — ground beef — mixed with green beans and seasoned tomato sauce, topped with mashed potatoes. It’ll chase the winter chill right out of you.
This is a recipe from my childhood, but apparently it pre-dates my parents’ marriage, too. When I called my mother to ask about a weird direction in the recipe, she admitted she’d been making the recipe since she was in high school and no longer has a written recipe. It’s cheap, quick, and easy, on top of being comfort food, and I needed to alter only a few things to make it allergy-friendly.
Hamburger Green Bean Hot Dish
- 3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/4-1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond — any of them should work)
- 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine (or other safe-for-you option)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 2-1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1/2 lb frozen green beans
- one bunch of scallions, chopped, green parts only
- salt and pepper, to taste
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.
Brown onion and beef in a skillet over medium heat. You don’t need to add oil — let the grease from the beef come out, then add the onions, and they will cook in the beef fat. Cook until onions are fully translucent. Drain off grease.
Add salt and pepper. Add oregano, dill, and garlic, and stir well.
Add tomato sauce, green beans, and scallions. Bring mixture to a boil. If you do this over medium, it gives you time to mash the potatoes.
Mash potatoes adding the margarine and milk — you may not need it all, so only add about 1/4 cup to start with, and see if you need the rest. The mashed potatoes should be a little stiff, as they will absorb some of the tomato sauce while cooking, and more when served.
Taste the beef mixture and the potatoes. Add more salt and pepper if you need it.
Pour beef mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes. By family tradition, I piled the mashed potatoes in a pretty ring around the edge of the dish, but I’m sure this is not necessary.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Eat hot. Also reheats well.