Mashed Potato Casserole with collards, cheese, and caramelized onions

WOW.  This was, to quote the native Wakefield MA person that I am, “wicked good!”  (Should I add “Menga?  I have no idea how to spell it, but the last time I heard it (other than from some long-lost and quickly again forgotten person I ran into last year) was at Lanie Island in the 1980s.  Scary times.  However, I digress.  <grin>

It was time to use up things in the cupboard and fridge.  I had lovely potatoes from Farmer Dave and exquisite carrots from Flats Mentor Farm, both via the Wakefield Farmer’s Market, and collard greens from the garden I help with by the lake.  By the way, the best way to keep greens such as collard, kale, and chard, is to put them like cut flowers in water, cover loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the fridge.

This is after TWO weeks in the fridge!

This is after TWO weeks in the fridge!

So, I started by searching for “potatoes and collards” and found this:

Collard-cannon with ale-braised onions & raw milk cheddar

I pretty much followed the directions, although I added grated carrots and I didn’t happen to have a block of high-test cheese in the fridge.  I actually did have a small amount of super cheddar from the Farmer’s Market, but not enough for the recipe and better savored with a cracker or two, anyway.

The original recipe didn’t have any set amounts of ingredients, but it was easy enough to wing it.  Here is what I used for ingredients:

About 3 cups  chopped collard greens, not tightly packed:

(See Simmered Greens – Collard, Mustard, and Arugula for tips for chopping collard greens)

chopped collards, one- cup measure on right for scale

chopped collards, one- cup measure on right for scale

The original recipe calls for steaming the greens, but I opted to blanch in boiling water for just under 3 minutes.

Not shown here, but I also grated a few small carrots – maybe 1 cup loosely packed after grating.

About 2 and a half pounds or so of potatoes with skin left on
1/2 cup or a bit more low-fat plain yogurt
2-3 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup or more hot water:

Potatoes getting the pre-mash cook

Potatoes getting the pre-mash cook

After cooking to fork tender, I mashed the potatoes with a few dollops of low-fat yogurt and some olive oil, along with a bit of hot water to get the right texture.  Next, I caramelized the onions to be folded into the mashed potatoes.

Here are the results: about five cups of mashed potatoes.

three favrorite tools

Three of my favorite tools

As aside, here.  I just love pyrex measuring cups.  This is my quart – or 4-cup one.  I have the 1, 2, and 8 cup versions, too.  Really handy!  And, of course, the knife my Mom gave me years ago.  Just a treasure.  And, my new handy-dandy heat-resistant up to 400 degrees  “spoonula.”    Okay, on to the onions.

Three medium to large onions, sliced
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup or so beer

Just starting to brown

Just starting to brown

First, I heated up two TBSP or so olive oil in my saute pan.  (Yes, it’s All-Clad and I love it!)  I sauted the onions on high, stirring frequently, until they started browning nicely, as shown above – up to 10 minutes. Then I cooked them for another 10 or so minutes on med-low until they got really brown:

Ready to deglaze!

Ready to deglaze!

The next step is to deglaze the onions with beer.  I’ll just quote the original recipe:  “When they were nicely browned, we deglazed the pan with a cup or so of brown ale — gathering up all those delicious browned bits that clung to the pan and granting the onions a bit of that delicious beer-y flavor.”  I couldn’t say it better myself.  🙂

before reducing the deglazing liquid

before reducing the deglazing liquid

After scraping the pan to loosen all the tasty bits, I let the onions stay on a low simmer for a few minutes until just about all the liquid evaporated.  Then, I folded them into the potatoes:

Taters and onions.  YUM!

Taters and onions. YUM!

Next it is the layering game.  Put 1/2 the taters in a greased baking dish and cover with all the collard and carrots.  I used my 10 inch square corning ware pan.

great colors!

Great colors, don't you think?

The last ingredient is about 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.  I just used regular New York Sharp.  I then sprinkled half the cheese on the veggie layer:

Half way assembled

Half-way assembled

Next,  I added the rest of the potatoes and topped it off with the rest of the cheese.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

I used my toaster 0ven.  I have the Cadillac of toaster ovens.  It is a Krups 6-Slice Digital Convection Toaster Oven, as recommended by cooks Illustrated, and it rocks.  I just used the regular oven setting versus convection for this dish.  1/2 an hour at 375 degrees did it. (Pre-heat first if using a regular oven.)

YUM:

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Okay – here is the list of indgredients and the instructions all together so you can copy and paste to a file for printing:
I pretty much followed the directions, although I added grated carrots and I didn’t happen to have a block of high-test cheese in the fridge.  I actually did have a small amount of super cheddar from the Farmer’s Market, but not enough for the recipe and better savored with a cracker or two, anyway.

The original recipe didn’t have any set amounts of ingredients, but it was easy enough to wing it.  Here is what I used for ingredients:

About 3 cups chopped collard greens, not tightly packed
1 cup grated carrot
2 and a half pounds or so of potatoes, peeled or not
1/2 cup or a bit more low-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2-3 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup or more hot water as needed for mashed texture
3 medium to large onions, sliced thin
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup or so beer
2 cups grated cheddar or other type of cheese

1) Chop up the potatoes and set to boiluntil soft.
2) Slice onions and saute in olive oil until caramelized.
3) While potatoes and onions cook, chop collard greens and grate carrots and cheese.
4) Add beer to deglaze the onions, and simmer for a few minutes until most liquid is gone.
5) Mash potatoes with yogurt, olive oil, and hot water as needed.
6) Fold onions into mashed potatoes
7) Lightly grease a shallow baking dish and spread with 1/2 the potatoes.
8) Cover with collards and carrot (and/or any other veggie) and top with 1/2 the grated cheese.
9) Spread on the rest of the potatoes and top with the rest of the grated cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees in a pre-heated oven.

To accompany, I also prepared a very interesting dish that I will blog about the next time I have a moment.  My reason for this dish?  I had fennel in my fridge.  Why?  I don’t remember why…well, last week I was going to try a recipe that used it but never got around to it.  I don’t remember what the recipe was…BUT, the good news is that the dish I made was super.  You can find it here:

Italian Sausage with Fennel, Peppers, and Onions Check back later for my post about it.  Enjoy!

One thought on “Mashed Potato Casserole with collards, cheese, and caramelized onions

  1. yvonne

    I hope the rest of that bottle of beer didn’t go to waste! LOL Yummy recipe. I felt like I could smell it cooking, mmmm…

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