The story behind this casserole...
Our family lived in Southeast Asia for 16 years, where "lombok" and "cabe" are used in almost every meat dish or soup. Interpreted, that would be, red hot peppers! Rice was eaten daily and we grew accustomed to the delicious spicy flavors of central Java, Indonesia. American food with its usual "salt and pepper" seasoning was bland by comparison. One day when craving the simple fare of meat and potatoes, I came up with a dish which I named "American Casserole." The ingredients are potatoes and hamburger, with a cream sauce, and the seasonings -- you guessed it -- simply salt and pepper.
Use any kind of potato -- yellow, red, purple -- and try mixing the potatoes with yams (or sweet potatoes) as another variation. For the veggie layer, use frozen mixed veggies, or just corn (frozen or canned), or frozen peas. You could also do fresh green beans or chopped carrots as well. The sauce layer can be "cream of anything" soup (chicken, celery, mushroom) -- or better yet, make your own from scratch (see recipe below). You can make this casserole the day before so that it is ready to bake -- but be sure to add an additional half hour to the bake time.
When choosing your ingredients, use home-grown, grass-fed and organic ingredients whenever possible.
6 cups sliced potatoes (do not peel if using organic) (or use ½ yams + potatoes)
(This will be 2 lbs total of potatoes.)
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
½ tsp pepper, freshly ground
1 cup onion, chopped OR 4 green onions, thinly sliced, white & green parts
2 cups (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables of any kind
2 cans (10 oz each) “cream of something” soup (or homemade*). Spread evenly over top.
1 lb burger, browned (add 1 TBSP of any savory spice to the burger)
4 to 6 oz cheddar cheese, grated (1 to 1 ½ cups)
Grease the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish generously with butter or olive oil.
Layer half of the sliced potatoes, sprinkle with ½ tsp salt
Layer ½ of the onion
Layer the other half of the sliced potatoes, sprinkle with ½ tsp salt
Layer the other ½ of the onion
Layer the frozen mixed vegetables
Spread the cream soup over the mixed vegetables
Layer the cooked burger
Top with the grated cheese
Cover tightly. (You can use a flat baking stone or heavy baking sheet on top of the casserole dish.)
Bake 60-90 minutes. Potatoes should be tender (poke with a fork).
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
If you want to freeze for later:
Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then heavy aluminum foil and freeze.
Thaw 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap.
Bake covered for 1 ½ - 2 hours at 350° or until potatoes are tender.
*To make your own "cream of something" soup:
2 cups chicken or beef broth
6 TBSP all purpose flour
3 TBSP butter or olive oil
4 tsp "chicken or beef bouillon or "all purpose seasoning"
1 tsp garlic powder
Whisk flour into broth, add remaining ingredients and heat until mixture thickens and boils (approximately 5 minutes). Use immediately or store in a jar in the fridge, or freeze. For best results, weigh in 10 oz amounts, which equals 1 can of cream of chicken, celery, mushroom soup. You can also add 1/4 cup of finely chopped mushrooms, celery, sauteed for each "can" of soup. 1 TBSP of dehydrated mushrooms is a great addition.
Serve with a side of biscuits or fresh bread.