Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Hartford
Largest City: Bridgeport
Admission to the Union: January 9th, 1788 the fifth state to join the Union
The agricultural produce of the state includes nursery stock, eggs, clams and lobster, dairy products, cattle, and tobacco. Its industrial output includes transportation equipment, especially helicopters, aircraft parts, and nuclear submarine parts; heavy industrial machinery and electrical equipment; military weaponry; fabricated metal products; chemicals and pharmaceutical products; and scientific instruments. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut )
If you’re thinking of visiting Connecticut in person, check out these sites;
Connecticut to me is one of those rare places that at once has it’s own identity and at the same time is connected with the states that surround it. Long Island, New York is just across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut, which makes Connecticut one of those places that New York city dwellers escape to when the city becomes too much for them. Yale University is found in Connecticut which lends itself to that image I’ve always had of Connecticut being very preppy and uptight. Connecticut is also known for one of my favorite authors- Mark Twain who penned a famous novel titled “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” a satire of a time traveling man from Connecticut who finds himself in Medieval England. He uses his knowledge of modern technology to debunk much of the superstitions that infected Medieval England.
This recipe called a Connecticut Supper is a little like a modern version of a Shepard’s Pie and seemed a good homage to that Connecticut Yankee.
Connecticut Beef Supper-
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs lean cubed stew meat
2 large onions, sliced
1 cup water
3 large potatoes thinly sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup crushed corn flakes
Heat oil in skillet. Stir in meat and onions. Cook till tender and brown. Add water, heat till boiling. Reduce heat & simmer for 50 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Pour meat into un-greased 9x13x2 inch baking dish. Arrange potatoes on meat. Stir together soup, sour cream, milk, salt & pepper. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and corn flakes Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes and meat are tender. I found that after an hour, to keep the corn flakes and cheese from burning, it is best to cover with foil. http://www.grouprecipes.com/48854/connecticut-beef-supper.html/print
Ironically this recipe was a bit like the transmission going out in the car on a rainy road between Rhode Island and Connecticut several miles away from a repair station with no cell phone service. It started out well and quickly went down hill from there! I was so excited that I had all the ingredients except for the cheddar cheese in stock. I read the recipe carefully- having learned from my mistakes in Rhode Island and Vermont, thinking I had allotted enough time to be able to deliver to the Fire Department by 6pm. As they saying goes- if you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans, well I made it… by the skin of my teeth and with a few prayers along the way! The recipe became the “perfect storm” as the elements conspired against me! It started with the stove setting off the smoke alarm, which caused one of the dogs to pee on the floor, while answering 3-4 phone calls from telemarketers, and an unexpected visitor knocking on the door! I am known for my ability to multi-task, but this was ridiculous! It was as if God decided that I needed a little excitement in my life at the worse possible time! The entire time I was making the Connecticut Beef Supper I kept thinking… if I were actually driving somewhere in Connecticut and these events happened, you would find me turning around and going home!
I had everything but the cheddar cheese on hand, which was very inexpensive. I love it when a recipe comes together with what you have on hand. This is what I liked most about this recipe.
cook beef and onions, mix salt and pepper with soup, milk and sour cream, place sliced potatoes over cooked meat in casserole dish
pour soup over meat and potatoes, add cheese, add crushed cornflakes
The recipe says it takes 90 minutes… that is a little deceiving. I started cooking it at 4pm, and aside from the minor interruptions and disasters that distracted me, I was still waiting for it to finish at 6pm. When I make this again I will plan to be preparing and cooking for at least 2 and 1/2 hours.
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** really easy to make, it’s virtually a one-dish casserole aside from cooking the meat in a different pan
Cost of ingredients: *****had everything in the cupboard aside from the cheese
Taste: ***SGM Martha liked it enough that he wants me to make it again, however I found it very bland… next time I’ll probably add some garlic to add flavor. One of the Firefighters thought ketchup would be good with it as well.
Nutrition: **** not very fattening at all aside from the cheese, the rest is very low calorie and a good source of dairy!
Aside from the distractions and interruptions it was easy enough to prepare and with a little more spice could easily be a Martha household staple. The cornflakes gave it a nice texture against the smooth cheese and potato base. The meat could have been tenderized and spiced a little more for my taste, but a few of the taste testers had seconds, so it must have been good. Next week we’re off to New York for a special Valentine’s recipe. So until next week- May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!