If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Meat Mushroom and Potato Skillet Gratin Adapted from Melissa Clark in The New York Times

         At the risk of people believing I must be going steady with Melissa Clark, I am rushing this out in advance of the latest winter storm.  Even though I just shared Melissa’s superb Pork Chop recipe the middle of last month, I could not resist posting this latest triumph from last Wednesday’s “A Good Appetite” column.  This is stuck-in-the house, freezing-cold-outside food at its finest.  It’s Melissa’s inspired combination of elements you find in a crisp potato gratin and in a cottage or shepherd’s pie.  It’s cheesy, rich and come to think of it, gluten-free!  It’s not the fastest dish in the world to cook which makes me think that if you’re going to be housebound for any length of time, it will be the perfect thing to prepare.  It also has the great advantage of being a one-pot dinner.  Well, that is unless like me and Melissa you feel it would look a whole lot better on a plate with a nice big green salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.  So what changes did I make to Melissa’s original recipe?  Don’t think I didn’t try to make the original….      


Melissa mixed her potatoes with rutabaga, using a 50-50 ratio. Now rutabaga is what I grew up calling Turnips.  And I love the stuff. But amazingly there were no rutabagas in two markets I went to. So I went for a version completely topped with Russett or Idaho Potatoes. Melissa also added 3 cups of spinach to her creation.  She explained that a cottage or shepherd’s pie would traditionally contain peas but that spinach would more readily absorb the herb-infused cream that is poured over and baked into the dish.  I was all set to do so myself. But first I’d found a cache of

Russet Potato

cremini mushrooms. I’ve been on a mission to shop my refrigerator first and stop having to toss perfectly good ingredients that somehow get lost under more recent purchases.  I knew the mushrooms would make a nice contrast to the ground beef.  But once they’d been added to the browned ground beef, there simply was no room in the cast iron skillet for the spinach.  So into the green salad it went.  Finally, again in my quest to shop the fridge, I found some sliced provolone, which melts beautifully even if it lacks the nutty goodness of the Gruyere in Melissa’s original recipe.  But the result was simply superb: Comfort food for a three-dog night. So if we’re having another one, might as well hunker down with this delicious meal.  Here is the recipe:


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