By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Today my blogging friends and I are posting in honor of National Cookbook Month, with the focus on community cookbooks. I am sure I have as big a stack of these spiral comb cookbooks as anyone- I started collecting them when Bill was in the Air Force and we moved around. Later as my cookbook collection expanded, I found lots of other interesting ones. And some of my favorites are the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, which are filled with Ohio charm. I even have a recipe coming out in one of their cookbooks this January. I think it is an updated version of Hometown Recipes- so watch for it, and when you see my Cincinnati Chili, you will know it was me. It is also already posted here.
Although I do own a lot of cookbooks, to be honest, I don’t really cook from them. Does that seem odd? I just like looking at them, feeling the charm they evoke and the like. Some of my favorites are the really old ones- cookbooks like the ones my Mom had. The further back in time you go, the more fun these recipes are to read.
Community cookbooks, by design, have tons of recipes everyone has a version of, like potato salad, or apple crisp. For today, I wanted to share a version of Funeral Potatoes.
I am pretty sure I have eaten some of these potatoes growing up, but the memory escapes me. Perhaps it is because these potatoes make the rounds at funeral wakes, where everyone brings a hot dish to comfort the grieving. That one didn’t notice the food would have been a good thing, no distractions from comforting loved ones.
I can’t remember when exactly, but Cracker Barrel restaurants opened up near where I lived, and it was one of their staples, the hash brown casserole. At that point, this potato recipe never really left my radar. And people will tweak their recipes in different ways. I am fond of the touches of sour cream and chive in my version, because I love that on a potato.
And I do think my version is the best around (I am so shameless, aren’t I?) But you will have to decide for yourself. I think this would be the bomb if you were cooking breakfast for your guests on a holiday weekend. Imagine this with gads of fried eggs, cheese grits, biscuits and gravy, tons of bacon and sausage, and fried apples (sort of sounds like a trip to Cracker Barrel, right?) It’s comfort food. Perhaps why it comforts those who grieve.
As well, I can see this with a platter of fried chicken, fried okra, stewed tomatoes, green beans with bacon, biscuits and cream gravy and the iced tea made in the big canning pot, like my grandmother and great aunt used to make in the south.
It’s probably apropos to have this kind of thing in October –it is after all, the time of year many cultures believe the “veil” between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and spirits walk the earth. It is the basis for the jack-o-lanterns at Halloween- Lit up faces with smiles to invite friendly spirits and more frightening visages and frowns to frighten away evil spirits.
But I have got to tell you, if you make this, the aromas coming out of your kitchen will have every ghost in town on your doorstep.
Now that would be a wake of gargantuan proportions.
I so rarely get a chance to use that word in a sentence, like Elle Driver from the movie “Kill Bill” that I relish the chance to speak it, the way Señor Esteban Vihaio relishes the chance to speak English with the vengeful bride.
Join me tomorrow when I post with Sunday Supper, featuring Slow Cooker Comfort Food. I have my recipe for Slow Cooker Swiss Steak ready to rock. Are you hungry yet? C’ya then!
- 30 ounce package frozen hash brown potatoes
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons dried chives
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup half and half or light cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Butter an oblong baking dish or casserole and set aside.
- Thaw the potatoes and place them in the colander to drain.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and add the onion and garlic and cook until they soften.
- Place those in a mixing bowl with the drained potatoes and stir.
- Whisk together the chicken broth with the mustard in a small bowl.
- Heat another 4 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet and stir in the flour, dry chives, salt and pepper to make a roux.
- Quickly stir in the chicken broth and continue stirring until it begins to thicken, then whisk in the half and half and sour cream.
- When it thickens like gravy, remove from heat and stir in 1-1/2 cups of the shredded cheese (while it is off the heat).
- Stir the sauce into the potatoes and place in an oblong buttered casserole dish (lasagna pan size).
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Cover pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Crush potato chips and toss with melted butter.
- Remove the pan foil and sprinkle with the buttered crushed chips.
- Bake for another 30-40 minutes or until chips are golden on top.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Don’t miss these awesome community cookbook recipes for #CookbookMonth!
Apple Cake from Making the Most of Naptime
Butterscotch Blondies from Everyday Eileen
Cream of Tomato Soup from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Funeral Potatoes from Palatable Pastime
Magic Coconut Bars from Family Around the Table
Pigs in a Blanket from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Polish Noodles and Cabbage from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pumpkin Nut Cookies from Strawberry Blonde Kitchen