I really enjoy watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network. Good wholesome food that is easy to make. For most home cooks, not interested in gourmet cooking, this is a dream come true.
For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about; Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, is an American TV celebrity chef, based out on a ranch in America. Ree’s emphasis is on good quality, simple food that is both easy to cook and to eat. There are quite literally hundreds of recipes on her site (see link at the bottom), including starters, mains, desserts and sharing platers. Ree’s website contains something for everybody.
Over the years I have tried dozens of her recipes and loved every single one of them. So why the sudden review? Well, I ventured into the realms of the hotdish (Americanism for a casserole for those that are wondering), and for the first time, I was disappointed.
Now, let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with the recipe. The ingredients and the method are flawless. What it does highlight, is the distinct difference in pallets between the UK and American citizens. Reason; The sheer amount of cheese deployed in this savory dish. I made the Kicked-Up Tater Tot hotdish, and there is cheese everywhere. Cheese in the meat and cheese at the top. When you combine this with the milk, sour cream and butter, it all starts to get sickly.
Perhaps it is just my palate, but my advice would be, if you don’t go for extremely sickly savory dishes, then avoid this one.
That said, this is only my opinion of one dish. Ree’s food is fantastic, and I would recommend anyone, and everyone, try her recipes.
As a side note:
I did love the idea of using the tater tots (which are like potato croquet if you are British) atop a meal and then baked, so I modified the concept slightly. Having not been able to eat the Ree version, I remade it using a thick Bolognese at the bottom, then covered with the potato, then added a topping of grated cheese. I baked the whole thing in the oven for 35 minutes and then crisped the top off under the grill. The potato croquet made an excellent substitute for the spaghetti carbs in a spaghetti bolognese, and the whole dish was very delicious. I served it with a side of homemade garlic ciabatta.