Beverly Matthews is no celebrity chef, but she sure felt like one after a team of videographers from the Taste of Home magazine descended on her Pasco residence earlier this week.
The three-person crew filmed Matthews as she prepared and prepared and re-prepared her take on shepherd's pie, a classic English dish.
Matthews' version, a baked shepherd's casserole, replaces the traditional mashed potato topping with two layers of potatoes au gratin -- one on top and one in the middle.
That simple twist helped the 58-year-old win Taste of Home's recent "Sunday's Best" recipe competition and turned her kitchen into a production studio.
Matthews' recipe should appear in Taste of Home's September-October edition and be featured during the magazine's fall cooking school courses. It also earned her $1,000.
The baked shepherd's casserole was more concept than finished product when she entered the recipe in March.
"When I submitted it, I'd never made it," Matthews said. "But that's what I do -- I love taking recipes and tweaking them."
She added, "My husband said, 'You have to cook this dish if you win.' "
And he was right. Besides a single test run after submitting the recipe, Matthews made the dish for only the second time under the filming crew's bright lights.
Matthews has subscribed to Taste of Home "off and on again" for about 20 years, she said. She's entered recipe competitions for the past seven or eight years, but her baked shepherd's casserole was her first winner. Four previous recipes have been published, but none have received top honors.
Matthews was notified of her contest victory in June. She used the $1,000 to partially bankroll a family reunion near Mount Shasta in Northern California.
The Taste of Home competition was sponsored by Physicians Mutual Insurance.
Beverly's Baked Shepherd's Casserole
1 pound ground beef
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
3/4 cup water
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup French-fried onions, optional
1/2 cup bacon bits, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, cook beef, mushrooms and onions over medium-high heat six to eight minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
Stir in seasonings. Add tomatoes, corn and green beans; heat through, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, mix soup and water.
In a greased 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish, layer half of each of the following: beef mixture, potatoes and soup mixture. Repeat layers.
Sprinkle with cheese and, if desired, French-fried onions and bacon bits.
Bake, covered, 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until bubbly and potatoes are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; email@example.com