Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potato Bake

I'd like to apologize up front about the many, many years that I have lambasted home cooks who used a can of 'cream of...' soup in recipes. I never tried it, yet felt that I had the right to 'take the mick', (as my British friends would say) out of those recipes. And there are LOTS of those recipes out there.
Now, some of those recipes that call for a tin of cream-of-whatever soup are truly scary to read; using processed ingredients almost exclusively. But, some (those that are light handed with the artificial stuff) are actually pretty good. 
Yesterday, I was in a rush to make dinner. I hate that, and avoid it whenever possible. But last night, at 6pm, I found myself in the grocery store looking for something that I could make for dinner that all of my children would eat. I settled on Teriyaki salmon (never fails me), green salad and some sort of potatoes... Didn't want to to fries, or baked potatoes or even mashed. I wanted something different, something creamy but also something healthy. It was there in the soup aisle that the idea hit: I love simmering celery root with potatoes for mashed potatoes, why not try cooking cubed potatoes in cream of celery soup. My expectations were low, but that's good, right?
I accidentally grabbed a can of healthy (reduced fat/sodium) cream of celery soup (which was highly irritating), but even so I was surprised to find that this little dish turned out to become a new family favorite! Easy to do ahead, hands-off cooking in the oven, these potatoes go great with pretty much everything. And they hit the spot with kids as well as adults. 

1 can cream of celery soup (regular of low fat)
1 can milk (2%, skim--whatever type you drink)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 small ribs celery, chopped
handful of chopped parsley
Sea salt and pepper to taste (especially if using the low sodium soup)
6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
handful of good quality breadcrumbs (homemade or Panko)
handful of grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 375F (185C). In a round casserole dish, mix together the soup, milk, onion, celery and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add in the cubed potatoes and toss well to evenly coat (it will be a soupy consistency).

2) Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and Parmesan over top. Drizzle with a bit of melted butter, place back into the oven and continue to bake for about 15 minutes, until the crumbs are golden.

Serve at once, but this dish is a good one to take to a potluck because, covered, it stays warm for some time.

Serves 6 

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