Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

So I want to cook some old fashioned casseroles


Kim Shook
 Share

Recommended Posts

With Fall almost upon us, I am in the mood for some comforting, sustaining foods. I want pot roast, Brunswick stew, CASSEROLES!! Well, I have my perfect recipes for the first two, but most of my beloved (in childhood, at least) casserole recipes start with: Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Alas, I have discovered that my palate is just not suited to that anymore - I feel like I actually TASTE the metal can (I'm not really kidding here - I was really disappointed when I made a couple of old favorites and couldn't figure out why I didn't like them anymore - I tried fresh herbs, different herbs and finally realized that it was the soup :angry: ). So - here's my question: what can I substitute that will give that gooey, rich mouthfeel, but not that chemical, tongue coating flavor?? A thick white sauce made with chicken stock? I would really appreciate any help you could give me.

(PS - this is first time I have started my own topic and only my second post - be kind if I've done something wrong :rolleyes: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations, Kim. Great topic.

I know I've got some Cream of Soupless recipes. I'll start digging.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually use a light bechamel for casseroles.

In a big saute pan, I will start my mushrooms, onions, and whatever else I am going to add.

In a 2 quart sauce pan, I'll use 2 TBSP butter, enough flour to make a stiff roux.

1 Cup Milk, 1 Cup Chicken stock heated to close to boiling.

Add liquid to roux, stirring quickly. Little nutmeg, bay, little cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

Deglaze vegetables with a little wine, mix in the bechamel and whatever other ingredients don't need cooking (tuna, chicken, peas...).

Pour the combined sauce goods over a half a pound of cooked pasta or so, mix, and dump the whole thing in a casserole.

Cover with bread crumbs and brown in a hot oven.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wondering what a "casserole " is?? Where I come from it is a meat or chicken dish usually in a savoury gravy .. like a stew I guess. Cooked in a casserole dish. Not a can of soup or very rarely cream and never bechamel in sight!

The good old american cassarole might be...canned tuna, hamburger, or cooked chicken mixed with cream of chicken or mushroom or celary soup and maybe some vegetable with a crunchy topping like potato chips or corn flakes....baked in a cassarole dish. Very 50s 60s to use all those wonderful canned goods available :rolleyes:

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just make your own homemade cream of mushroom soup, it's really easy. For use as a binder/thickener in a casserole, use the flour. For use as a soup, I don't.

Saute shallots (2 or 3) and mushrooms (a lot, like a pound, I usually use a mixture of button mushrooms and some kind of less expensive wild mushroom like oyster) until golden brown in about 4 TBS butter. Sprinkle about 3 TBS flour over the butter and veggies and stir over medium heat for a couple minutes to form a very light roux. Add about a quarter cup of Marsala and stir. Add liquid ( I use a combination of chicken broth and half and half. For richer, use less broth and even heavier cream, for leaner go the other way). Start with a couple of cups of liquid and stir for a few minutes to see how thick it's going to get. Add more liquid to desired consistency remembering to heat it for a few minutes each time to let the roux do its thickening. Salt and pepper to taste and puree in a blender.

For a heartier soup, saute a little diced bacon or pancetta in with the shallots and mushrooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heartily second (third?) the idea of making your own velouté- or bechamel-based mushroom-soup equivalent. I've gone through a lot of my old family favorites and replaced the canned and bottled (orange 'french' dressing, anyone??) with reverse-engineered sub-recipes, too.

I have a copy of The Best Recipes: Cover and Bake (ISBN: 0-93618-4809) from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. It has recipes for all of the old favorite casseroles, and plenty of new ones as well... plus other one-dish meals like coq au vin, mac and cheese, etc. I'd highly recommend checking out a copy from the library to see if you like it. I am guessing you will... it's very hard to find a used copy, which generally means people are hanging on to it. :)

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a copy of The Best Recipes: Cover and Bake (ISBN: 0-93618-4809) from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. It has recipes for all of the old favorite casseroles, and plenty of new ones as well... plus other one-dish meals like coq au vin, mac and cheese, etc. I'd highly recommend checking out a copy from the library to see if you like it. I am guessing you will... it's very hard to find a used copy, which generally means people are hanging on to it. :)

Another good book, is Crazy for Casseroles, by James Villas. It might be in the library too. I have seen it both discount book stores and in mainstream bookstores recently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Kim... found you! :smile:

Michael Chiarello did a show a while ago about making over potluck classics and he did a version of Green Bean Casserole that might help you. Even if it doesn't help, it still looked REALLY good! http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_29055,00.html

I've been obsessed with pot roast lately, so it must be a comfort food time! I was thinking about making Bobby Flay's recipe for Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Biscuit Crust this weekend...

Edited by Katie Nell (log)

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, everyone! These are all good ideas - I am printing everything out and putting in my 'try soon' file!

Hi, Katie! I love pot roast, too! I grew up with the opposite of the all-American mom as far as cooking went! Sautéed meats, rare roast beef, stir frys, fresh veggies, lots of pasta. No fried chicken, not pot roast, no casseroles! So, of course, I love all that stuff and had to learn to cook it when I grew up. My very favorite pot roast is Ronald Johnson’s from “Simple Fare”. It’s on my webpage: http://recipecircus.com/recipes/Kimberlyn/..._Pot_Roast.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Katie!  I love pot roast, too!  I grew up with the opposite of the all-American mom as far as cooking went!  Sautéed meats, rare roast beef, stir frys, fresh veggies, lots of pasta.  No fried chicken, not pot roast, no casseroles!  So, of course, I love all that stuff and had to learn to cook it when I grew up. 

I grew up with the opposite as well, but do remember my great grandma making a lot of that stuff, and so still have fond memories. My best friend's mom was definitely more of the down home cookin' kind, so we would call eachother and see what was for dinner and then decide where we were eating... the best of both worlds!

That pot roast recipe is similar in some flavors to the one I like a lot:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_28425,00.html

I might try yours tomorrow... and so continues the comfort food weekend!

Edited by Katie Nell (log)

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So funny you should ask the question because I actually had the opposite dilema (which could therefore be the solution to yours).

I bought some of the Imagine brand portabello mushroom soup that comes in a carton.

They make stock that comes in cartons also, as well as corn and squash soups.

The thing is it's not really soup, more like a mushroom broth, and it has soy milk in it. On the side of the box it says substitute for "cream of mushroom soup" in recipes.

Since I don't really like this stuff plain, I was looking to use it up in some casserole recipes, but I never really liked those type of casseroles. If anyone can recommend a good recipe I'd be grateful.

Meanwhile, I recommend you try subbing this stuff in your recipes. I'll try and find a link to the product.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best FN shows I ever saw was the Good Eats episode on caseroles. Alton not only went over recipes, he also (as he always does) explained the science behind the almighty casserole. Check the FN listings to see when it's on and watch it if you can.

HERE is the FN link to the epsiode complete with links to the recipes.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kraft foods (spawn of the devil) puts out a magazine- quarterly I think. Anyway though they try to use every one of their products which is a bit vile they do put together many casserole ideas I've thought might be nice if made with things other than minute rice, salad dressing and cheese shreds.

Truth is I do use a lot of that balsamic dressing at work. Does anyone understaand minute rice though? I mean rice cooks in like 15 minutes - oh well

Life! what's life!? Just natures way of keeping meat fresh - Dr. who

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best FN shows I ever saw was the Good Eats episode on caseroles.  Alton not only went over recipes, he also (as he always does) explained the science behind the almighty casserole.  Check the FN listings to see when it's on and watch it if you can.

  HERE is the FN link to the epsiode complete with links to the recipes.

A.

Aha! You beat me to it, Daddy-A! :biggrin:

If you can't catch that particular episode on TV, you can get all its info from this full transcript of the episode, from the Good Eats Fan Page (a wonderful repository of Alton Brown stuff).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I don't really like this stuff plain, I was looking to use it up in some casserole recipes, but I never really liked those type of casseroles. If anyone can recommend a good recipe I'd be grateful.

Up here in Minnesota, we don't call them casseroles, we call them "hot dishes." One of the problems I have with most hot dishes is that they are mush. Plain and simple. No need to whirr them in a food processor or the Happy Baby Food Grinder to make any toothless baby happy.

So, what I do when I need a simple and fast one dish meal is to take some pre-cooked meat, some veg (usually barely cooked) and something else that will retain crunch (water chestnuts and raw chopped celery and/or carrots are great for this, nuts are another welcome addition). Perhaps some rice or way undercooked pasta. Glue it all together with some home-made sauce (roux based) and put in a very wide shallow dish so that it bakes hot really quickly without turning everything else to mush. Vary the flavors. Add some curry. Add some currants. Give it some texture and surprising tastes. Although, I can't say I really plan meals around a hot dish. It sort of depends on what leftover stuff I have that needs to be used. I've had some disasters, but I've had some real winners that I've struggled to recreate.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Up here in Minnesota, we don't call them casseroles, we call them "hot dishes." 

:biggrin: 'Twas Garrison Keillor who clued me into the term "hot dish" for this stuff. In particular, there was a long-ago episode of "Prairie Home Companion" on which Keillor sang an Ode to Tuna Noodle Hot Dish that cracked me up so much that I had to go make some right away. (I've tried searching for the lyrics to that song, but in vain.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful topic. (Jaymes, keep digging!)

Yes, the basis of great casserole is often a bechemel or a veloute-- not brain surgery. In fact my mother instructed me when I was about ten about making "white sauce" -- her parents were English-- and that was one of the most valuable cooking lessons I've ever received. If you can make bechamel and veloute, and a good tomato sauce, the wide world of casseroles is yours! For that mushroomy base, make duxelles and stir them in.

I checked the Alton Brown link, and he seems to have bought into the idea that casseroles are an excuse to be a tacky cook. The flavor pack from Ramen noodles? For shame! Frozen puff pastry? Well, Ok, but why not learn to make your own? Next thing he'll be recommending Pillsbury Biscuits as a topping, which I have to admit might be just fine.

Creamed onions. Lasagna. Scalloped potatoes. Yes, mac and cheese and tuna noodle. Mummy made something called "Chicken Divan" which was boneless skinless chicken breasts , broccoli, bechamel and lots of cheese. Three days after Christmas it was Turkey Divan. The word casserole refers to the dish not the recipe. Oh! Read Pepin's "The Apprentice" and bake his Mother's simple souffle in a cassserole dish. In one of his other books he has a casserole of hard boiled eggs and tomatoes.

I want more ideas here. I totally understand that autumnal casserole jones.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heh. This topic has taken over my brain, too. Now I'm wracking my brains, trying to think of casseroles my mom made. Definitely tuna noodle ... think she also made it substituting leftover chicken for tuna ... that damned green-bean casserole for Thanksgiving ... oh, and she was all about the canned cream soups--she had some of every flavor then going--mushroom, chicken, celery, I dunno what-all else. It got to the point where I started humorously calling the stuff "cream of mumble soup," because they were all so interchangeable. Nowadays I avoid that stuff like the plague, because the sodium makes my feet swell up like dirigibles. But I still have a weird soft spot for the flavor. Mmmmmmm... sodium! :laugh:

I don't think this quite counts as a casserole as the ingredients are not chopped bitesize and mixed together but layered in rather big chunks, but my mom did sort of invent/evolve a baked fish dish that has many casserole-like elements, including the cream of mumble. In a greased oblong baking dish, preferably glass/pyrex/etc., lay down a layer of sliced raw potatoes, then a layer of sliced raw onions, then a layer of fish fillets (my mom typically used thawed frozen turbot), seasoning each layer with salt and generous amounts of pepper. Thin your canned cream-of-mumble soup with a little milk, and then cover the contents of baking dish with same, shaking the dish a little bit to work the soup down into all the layers. Top with a liberal coating of corn flake crumbs and bake in a medium oven until contents are done and sauce is bubbling (first covered with foil, then uncovered for the last ten minutes or so to brown the top). If I were doing this dish these days, of course, I'd substitute a home-made roux-thickened sauce of some sort for the cream-of-mumble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MizDuckiness: How could I have forgotten the corn flake crumbs? I loved them. It will now be forever for me Cream of Mumble (the Celery wasn't bad.)

I'm thinking about the savory bread pudding, or strata or "Scotch Omelet" in my mother's kitchen many years ago. Soak stale bread with eggs till it gets all squishy, layer with cheese, and bake until beuatifully puffed and cheesy. A great, great casserole.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was always fun to see what my daughter ate when she stayed at a friends house..she would say ...well... it was like macaroni and cheese flavored chicken but with rice instead...or mac and cheese flavored ham.... or just like grandmas chicken over noodles but all mixed up and squishy ...or really fun stuff like canned asparagus...I had to go to the store just to see if there really was canned asparagus.

Lasagna, eggplant, and chicken parm are cassaroles right...

never had tuna cassarole...

I have had the green bean/frenches onion one ...just not at home

mmm lasagna mmm pasta cook off

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I'll give up my hard-earned secrets.

Here is a recipe that my mother made. It was one of six things she could make that were quite tasty. :laugh: She claims that this recipe came from her own mother whom *she* said only made two things that were decent to eat: this recipe and Swedish Pea Soup that her seafaring Swedish husband (my grandfather) had taught her. Progress is obviously made in generations.

I loved this as a child and would probably like it okay now. It's pretty good.

Here it is, written in my mother's words and spellings from an old index card.

Hamberg Casserole

1 good-size onion, 1/2 green pepper. Saute in skillet. Remove and put in casserole. In same skillet put 1/2 lb. hamberg and cook until crumbly. Put in casserole and add 1/2 can tomatoes (size 2 can), 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Bake about 35 minutes in 375 oven - cover! casserole.

It is taking every ounce of my willpower not to re-write that as a nice neat little standardized recipe, but even the form carries something about the recipe, so I am resisting my impulse! :biggrin:

It is incredibly inexpensive. . .the story is my grandmother found the recipe on the side of a box or something during the Depression.

Yummy, too, particularly for children.

Edited to add: A 1970's sort of popular casserole that did not use canned soup or its ilk was "Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic". Remember that one?

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My sister-in-law's mother makes a salmon casserole that is a special dish in their family. Something to do with canned salmon ("It's better with Sockeye, but it's so expensive"), bechamel sauce, macaroni, and peas. It's the bechamel sauce that makes it a special occasion dish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...