Biscuits and Beef “Down Under"

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My son has a great group of friends and at least once a week (or so) they come for dinner.  Most of them are transplants to Nashville and miss the family dinner table. Knowing that, I set the table and we really eat a family meal aka: no lounging in front of the TV. These guys are good eaters and I’ve found that for a family style dinner, a big casserole, lots of veggies, and a yummy dessert is the way to go. If it was a bunch of girls coming to dinner instead: a) Richard would be REALLY happy, and b) I would do girl food –but - as fate would have it - I usually end up with 5 or 6 big guys to feed.

Trying to come up with a new idea, I remembered a delicious casserole I made when my sister and I took her sons, their friends, and an exchange student, Seb the Australian, to the mountains for a weekend. I was just so charmed by Seb the Australian, and no, I don’t quite know why we called him that. There aren’t a lot of people named Seb running around Nashville, although there do seem to be a fair amount of Australians who are either on the show Nashville, or are already stars.

I got to spend a fair bit of time with Seb the Australian, and of course we talked about the food he liked. Good coffee is apparently an Aussie tradition and I took him to Frothy Monkey, which he found met his high standards. He missed mangos, I took him to Kroger, but he said they are the wrong color here. The other thing our Australian wanted to do was go to a Wal-Mart. He couldn’t believe we have stores that sell guns and groceries.

I made this casserole for him from what he described as a favorite dish. He loved it and so did the rest of the guys on the trip to the mountains. It’s been tweaked a few times, no canned soup, more potatoes, but the cheese biscuits on the top steal the show. I made this for my son and his friends thinking it would feed about 12 people, but I promise that casserole dish was so clean by the end of dinner it could have skipped the dishwasher! (No, seriously I wouldn’t actually do that) This recipe was voted a favorite by everybody and will be a regular for my guys. Thank you Seb the Australian, come visit anytime.

Cheddar Biscuit and Beef Pot Pie

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Ingredients

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

½ onion, chopped

1 cup sliced carrots

2 Tbps butter

1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or tsp dried)

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or dried)

1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or tsp dried, or omit)

2 lb ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

3 Tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1 cup beef or chicken broth

2 Tbsp Sherry (optional)

1 cup frozen green peas

For Biscuits

2½ cups self-rising flour

1 stick cold butter cut in cubes

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

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1 cup buttermilk (more if needed)

Directions

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add potatoes, onion, and carrots and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in thyme, rosemary, and parsley and transfer to a bowl.

In the same pot, cook ground beef over medium high heat, breaking into pieces until browned. (remove any accumulating liquid as the beef cooks)

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Return vegetables to the pot with the beef and stir in 3 Tbsp flour.

Cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Add milk and broth and cook to thicken sauce, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add sherry if using and green peas.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Put meat mixture in a 9 x 13 or similar size casserole, deep enough to hold meat and biscuits.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Make Biscuits: I use my food processor, but it is quite easy to do this by hand in a bowl.

Blend flour, butter, and cheese to combine.

Add buttermilk and mix to form dough.

Roll out dough and cut into biscuits, re-rolling leftover pieces.

Place on casserole, pushing into the sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes until casserole is bubbly and biscuits are browned. (If biscuits are browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the casserole.) 

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