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Weekday Meals: Comforting, Buttery, Parmesan Mash Casserole

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Nothing beats a comforting meal on a cold day. Well, maybe an improved version of it.

Much of what we eat is linked to how it makes us feel emotionally. We place value on how we feel when we press a spoon into a casserole layered with spaghetti, béchamel sauce, spiced mince and buttery mashed potato. The effect that watching how this is carefully placed into a bowl, watching the steam escape from between the layers has a synergistic effect on our brain.

The weather seems to have warmed up slightly in Johannesburg however that is never an indication that the Winter months are over. Before it’s time to dine el-fresco, here’s one last opportunity to cook something comforting this week.

Buttery Parmesan Mash and Spiced Mince Casserole

Ingredients for the Mince

  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Whole spices: 2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, small cinnamon stick, half a tsp cumin
  • Half a kilogram of lamb mince
  • 1 heaped tbl ground red ginger and garlic masala (Sujees brand)
  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground garlic
  • Half a tsp of ground green chilli
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Half a tsp tumeric
  • Quarter cup of lemon juice
  • 2 grated tomatoes
  • 1 tbl tomato sauce
  • 2 tbl chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste (1 tsp to your liking)

Ingredients for the Parmesan Mash

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 tbl butter
  • 3 tbl ground parmesan
  • 1 tbl Woolworths Creamy Salad dressing
  • Quarter cup of fresh cream
  • Salt to boil the potato
  • A pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for the Béchamel Sauce

  • Half a cup of flour
  • Half a cup of butter
  • Half a cup of cream
  • Milk to form sauce
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt to taste

Additional: Boil spaghetti, macaroni or any other pasta of your preference.

Begin by preparing the mince:

Add the whole spices to butter and allow to cook gently for 1 minute. Stir in the onions and cook until translucent. Add the mince and using the back of the spoon, separate the mince. Cook on low until most of the liquid has drained off. Add the balance of the ingredients and cook on low until thick. Remove from the heat. Stir in the tomato sauce and chopped coriander.

Leave on the heat to cook while you continue to prepare the balance of the components.

Prepare the mash:

Boil the potato in salted water. Remove and drain any liquid if left. Using a masher, mash down until smooth. Stir in the balance of the ingredients and leave aside. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.

Prepare the Béchamel Sauce:

Add the butter to a pot and slowly add the flour whisking all the time. You should create almost a ball of dough from this. Reduce the heat and slowly whisk in the cream, followed by the milk. Season and ensure the sauce is thick but of a pouring consistency.

To layer:

  • Pasta
  • Mince
  • Bechamel Sauce
  • Mash

Top with butter and bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven until the mash starts to brown. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Featuring Le Creuset Casserole dish. Purchase here: https://www.lecreuset.co.za/products/stoneware/cooking-items/heritage-square-dish-with-lid

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  • Farzanah
    August 5, 2019

    We love Cottage pie at home…but I have never included a bechamel sauce. Must try 🙂 Thank you for sharing

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