C.G. the Foodie is having a recipe challenge over at http://www.uncoveringfood.com/2009/04/april-mystery-box-challenge.html based on the cooking show "Chopped". There are three random ingredients and contestants have to come up with a recipe that uses all three ingredients. I got to pick one of this month's ingredients! So naturally I felt compelled to try and make something using...drumroll, please...Ham, Beer, and Rosemary. (Rosemary was the one I picked). Ham and rosemary go together just fine about eleventy billion different ways, but what to do with the beer? And could I still make this recipe be healthy AND delicious? I looked around my refrigerator and pantry for inspiration. I had a ton of produce that needed to be used. I decided to come up with a casserole to use some of the produce.
How on earth do you use beer in a casserole? All I could think about was beer bread and fondue. I've heard of fondue recipes that use beer. Why not use a fondue-type sauce as the sauce for my casserole? Hmm, what about the "healthy" part? Ok, so use lean ham and reduced fat cheese. Ok, I had some direction now. This recipe is completely from my own imagination with no help. I didn't look in a single cookbook or online recipe for inspiration. I wanted to see if I could do it all by myself.
It took two tries (the first casserole came out delicious but a little too watery). The second result was much more visually appealing (and less messy to eat). The nutritional stats are impressive, too, for a cheesy and starchy casserole. I might still experiment with the right beer to make it perfect, but it's a good finished product for my first try at making up a casserole recipe using beer. I felt proud when my husband and kids ate it and said they liked it!
--Cheesy Potato Casserole with Greens--
-2 medium russet potatoes
-1 Farmer John lean Ham Steak, diced
-1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
-1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1 small yellow onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 bunch collard greens, large stems removed and roughly chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
-4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
-1 bottle beer (I used Trader Joe's Bohemian Lager)
-8 oz. Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese, shredded
-1 pinch ground nutmeg
-1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1. Wash potatoes. Prick with tines of a fork, and microwave 3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Let cool for several minutes, then slice in thin slices, leaving the skins on. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Arrange potatoes in bottom of dish. Sprinkle with rosemary.
2. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add garlic and onion. Cook and stir until softened, about 2 minutes. Add collards, continuing to sautee until just wilted. Drain off any excess liquid; spread evenly over potato slices. Sprinkle with diced ham; add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Heat remaining 4 tsp. olive oil in same skillet. Using a nylon whisk, stir in flour until well-combined and frothy. Whisk in beer; bring to a boil. Stirring continuously, cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Fold in the cheese, nutmeg, and cayenne. Pour the sauce over the casserole. (At this point, for a make-ahead dish, cover and refrigerate the casserole until you are ready to bake).
4. Bake at 375F until potatoes are cooked through and sauce is bubbly and browned around the edges, about 35 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting for ease of serving. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritionals: 270 calories, 9g fat, 3.7g fiber, 20g protein
WW Points: 5