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Help with ground beef/sliced potatoes/tomato base recipe, please.

My father used to make a casserole that had a wonderful flavor, but, alas, I never got his recipe. I asked his sister, but she couldn't really remember how to make it either. He was Romanian in case it was a regional dish, but here is what I remember: sliced potatoes (my aunt said to precook the potatoe slices on the stove top, don't know if my dad did that or not), cooked ground beef, and some type of tomato base, either Campbell's tomato soup, tomatoe juice or something I am completely unaware of--there were no chunks of tomato in the dish.

His casserole had a flavor that was more than the sum of its parts. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

Thanks.

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  1. Ok

    Brown the ground beef over med high heat. Add your spices. I suspect some Hungarian paprika would be in order. Turn the heat down to medium. Sweat your chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. If you would like add some kind of mild pepper here like chopped red or green bell pepper. Cook until veggies are soft. Add a can of tomato sauce. Adjust your seasoning at this point.

    If it isn't as thick as you like sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over it and mix. Somewhere along this point or the step before, you could add some beef stock. If you do you will have to add the flour. Put this mixture in the bottom of a pyrex casserole dish. Add a couple of layers of your precooked sliced potatoes to the top. I would sprinkle some cheese over the potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and add to preheated 350° F oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.

    That will get you close.

    Variations:

    Use rice instead of potatoes. Use mashed potatoes instead of sliced potatoes. Mix 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 sausage of some sort... maybe one commonly used in Romania?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Dollars to donuts the original used some garlic, too.

      1. re: greygarious

        I kinda felt stupid answering the post but I guess newbies have to start somewhere.

        Maybe I should have posted the old casserole construction list.

    2. A version in an old 'church potluck coobook' I have says; brown 1 lb. ground beef. drain mostly. reserve beef. chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic, and a green pepper. cook those until traslucent. Add back the ground beef to the pan.

      Add to the pan tsp. of salt, ground pepper, 1 tbsp paprika (hungarian), 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp sugar, 2 cups tomato juice or a 12 oz. can of tomato sauce and a cup of water or beef stock. simmer for a while to reduce by 1/3'd.
      Slice potatoes thinly. put a layer of sliced potatoes in a thick tile fashion in a 13x9 casserole dish. add 1/3 of tomato/beef mix. add another layer of potatoes. add 1/3 of tomatoe beef mix. top this with a thin layer of potatoes - layed out in single slices, sprinkle with a mild feta cheese ( the recipe calls for some hungarian cheese, and finish with the last of the beef/tomato mix.
      I would put the feta on top, myself, but this is how it is written out.
      This is from a very older lady at the church I grew up attending, and I can assure you - she was very Hungarian!

      1. Thank you all for the recipes, but there were no peppers or mushrooms in my dad's casserole. Maybe onions (he loved those things, he put them in mac and cheese, too) and garlic. A couple of times he added peppers and other veggies, but they completely changed the taste of the dish and I no longer liked it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: stecworld

          Ok, stecworld, don't use the green pepper, doesn't mean we didn't send you in the right direction; you just don't like green pepper, or mushrooms - and your dad didn't use them, but the idea of the layers is pretty right on, as is the combo of the beef, seasonings, and potato layers; give it a try...

          1. re: gingershelley

            Oh, don't worry, I will try them all. I do like mushrooms and green pepper, but not in Dad's casserole! ; )

            1. re: stecworld

              Well, happy experimenting.... I so wonder WHAT was in dad's casserole? ! :)

        2. My mother made a casserole of thin sliced potatoes, raw ground beef, chopped onion and crushed tomatoes. Put a bit of tomato in bottom of casserole and layer, potatoes, onion, beef, and tomatoes. Salt and pepper. Repeat layers. Bake 350 deg oven until tender. Real comfort food!

          1. I think what you are looking for is a Campbell soup recipe we used to eat at Girl Scout dinners. It is as you said, cooked ground beef, tomato soup, sliced potatoes, shaved carrots and a bit of onion. Mix together in a dish, bake and eat. It takes a long time to cook 1.5 hours or more which may be why Aunt precooked the potatoes. It is a very basic but tasty dish.

            1. My brother-in-law who is of Lebanese heritage used to make a dish very close to this. It was sliced potatoes, cooked ground beef and tomato juice. I can't remember if he included onions or not and I believe he simply used pepper and salt as seasonings. He used to just layer it in a large pot, pour the tomato juice over it and let it simmer slowly for a couple of hours. It was super yummy. It even had a Lebanese name but I couldn't begin to even spell it! :)