What’s a flavor combination so essentially American that, when made into a casserole, it can proclaim itself The Ultimate American Casserole? If you said meat and potatoes, you’d be right! The stripes in this flag of flavor come from a rich, savory, beefy layer of ground meat and tomatoes, infused with even more meaty flavor. Serving as the stars is a bed of fluffy, creamy, and tangy mashed potatoes mixed in with sharp cheddar cheese! The Ultimate American Casserole is the kind of dish you can salute with pride as you grab a fork and dig in!

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 pound ground beef, at least 90% lean
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth

Directions

Step 1 –Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2 –Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover them with cold water.

Step 3 –Bring the water to a boil and add the salt.

Step 4 –Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Step 5 –Drain the potatoes.

Step 6 –Mash the potatoes with the sour cream, the milk, the cheddar, the salt, and the pepper.

Step 7 –Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet.

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Step 8 –Add the onion and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 6 minutes.

Step 9 –Add the carrots and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5-6 minutes.

Step 10 –Add the beef to the veggie mixture and cook, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 11 –Drain the grease from the skillet.

Step 12 –Add the tomato paste and the cinnamon to the meat mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 13 –Add the flour, the thyme, the salt, and the pepper to the meat mixture and cook while stirring until the raw flour smell dissipates, about 1 minute.

Step 14 –Add the tomatoes and the broth to the meat mixture and gently simmer until the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 4-6 minutes.

Step 15 –Spoon the potatoes over the beef mixture, using a fork to create ridges in the potatoes.

Step 16 –Bake until the potatoes are golden brown and slightly crisp, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 17 –Serve.