Thursday, December 01, 2011

Shipwreck, the recipe

Not to be confused with the destruction from a water-vessel upon the sea.

Growing up, my mom made this recipe with shaved potatoes and rich, heavy tomato sauce. The top pieces of potato were dried and crunchy. It made me swoon, I loved it. It was easily one of my favorite recipes.

Over the years, it has changed a lot. And somehow improved. She added her own homegrown and canned tomatoes and sweetened it a bit. Changed the potatoes to more of an au gratin slice. She added a layer of cheese on top. It was almost an au gratin potato with a hearty, sweetened chili underneath. Somewhat.

But definitely a recipe in progress, kind of thing.

I like that. The ever-changing recipe. Kinda a shipwreck, if you will. Yes, I went there...

Besides, the weather's changing. We haven't had snow, but it's coming, to be sure. When I get home from work and I'm chilly to my bones, I want to make Shipwreck. It's warm and filling and makes me happy inside.

Anyhow, you start with 2 pounds of ground hamburger, browned.
I sprinkled it with a bit of minced, dried onions. Just for flavor.

Then use two large cans of diced tomatoes. Mine are from my mom, you probably don't have these. I am sorry for you, as they are delicious.

You can use two large cans of diced tomatoes and add some diced celery, green bell pepper and onions. About 1/4 - 1/2 cup each.

Also add 1 small can of tomato sauce.

Let this simmer a while to get the flavors all caught up together. Add 2 Tbl brown sugar. *yum*

This gets rich and thickens some. Then add 1 can of black beans, my mom uses kidney beans.

Peel and slice about 5 medium sized potatoes, quarted and about 1/4 inch thick.


Pour the meat mixture into a 9x13 pan, then top with the potato slices. Push the potatoes down into the sauce a bit to keep them from drying out.

Cover with tin foil to seal in the juices and bake for about 45 min in 425 degree oven.


See how it thickens up and the potatoes get all soft? Check the potatoes with a fork and make sure they are very tender. I hate it when there's still a bite to them when you're eating.

Cover the casserole with 2 cups of cheddar cheese, remembering to leave a portion of it without cheese if you have picky eaters in your house.

Secret: I actually didn't add the whole can of black beans, I only poured half the can over half of the meat mixture once it was on the 9x13. Half the folks in my house eat black beans, half don't.  But casserole's are forgiving and then everyone's happy.

Just keeping it real.

Return the casserole to the oven without covering it.
Once the cheese is all melty, remove it and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Cause it's boiling hot, that's why!

See, this shipwreck was attacked by pirates. Very hungry pirates.

You shoulda seen the other side of the casserole. Cause they attacked it from two sides, one bean and one beanless. Once they got seconds, there was only a bowl full left.

I consider that a success.

The pictures don't do this recipe justice. It really is a hearty, cold weather food. The black beans are soft and sweet and amazing in it.

This meal is one I make when it's cold outside and I want some serious comfort food.

Then play scrabble afterwards. Well, that's what we did.

The recipe:

Shipwreck: Adapted Many times

2 lbs browned hamburger
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbl brown sugar (or more)
1 can black beans
1/4 cup diced each onions, celery, green bell peppers.
5 med potatoes, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Brown hamburger, add the diced vegetables, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let simmer 10 min, add sugar and beans.
Pour meat mixture into 9x13 pan, top with sliced potatoes and bake covered 45 min at 425 degree oven. Top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes uncovered.

Serve to hungry pirates.

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