9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

Not every Simply Delicious recipe is a home run. With 9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole, perhaps unsuccessfully, tries to break the mold. By not forming the beef into a patty, meatball, or kebab, this casserole tries to do something different. To cook this recipe, I had to prepare a parsnip, something I’m not accustomed to. I made this dish before a trip out of town and brought it with me to have something homemade to eat.

I cut my vegetables in a manner similar to the photograph, but my substitution of milk for half and half made the sauce come out runny.

This casserole desperately needed some cheese to bind it together. I should have followed the TIPS section and added some Parmesan or Cheddar to this casserole. When my gut tells me to alter a recipe from Simply Delicious, I should heed its advice.

Here’s the ingredients. The celery root is the most obscure ingredient from this recipe. With the growing “farm to fork” movement in our region, it is suddenly easy to find any kind of produce we could ask for.

Melted butter has the best smell. I tend to overheat my butter so I made sure to keep the heat lower and add some oil to prevent burning.

The onions took up the entire small pan. I used the large pan to brown the meat at the same time these onions are cooking.

The onions are soft and have some color to them. Delicious. Let’s get ready to add them to the ground beef.

I love some freshly browned ground beef.

Add the onion (which totally should have been long slices instead of diced).

Matchsticks of parsnips are not easy to cut. Parsnip is like a cross between a carrot and potato so it can be tough and fibrous.

Slicing carrots is easy. I actually took down some carrot sticks into smaller slices.

Finally, it’s time to cut the potatoes into sticks(as best as I can). Yet another wrist-killing step, but necessary to make this zesty casserole.

I tossed down the first layer of vegetables into the glass baking dishes. I used 3 different small glass dishes to contain all of the casserole, but this made it easier to pack for taking with me when I was traveling.

Here is where I neglected to follow some directions. After the layer of meat, I was supposed to add another layer of vegetables, followed by pouring enough liquid to keep the top layer of vegetables moist. My casserole was missing a top layer, but the veggies were submerged in the liquid, so it mostly worked out.

The final product wasn’t much to look at and tasted about as good as it looks. The celery root was my favorite part, followed by the ground beef. The flavor profile of the ingredients together was very good and the only thing preventing the dish from being better was my preparation methods. Next time I would cut everything thinner and more consistently.

GRADE: B-