Failsafe winter casseroles

November 25, 2019 6:52 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s cold outside, but who cares, when you’ve got a casserole in the oven? Hard to mess up, it’s nevertheless a good idea to have a few failsafe, simple casserole recipes up your sleeve. There’s nothing worse than a thin, watery mess, when you wanted something thickly rich and savoury for tea. (Though if you do end up with a watery disaster, our blog The plot (and the stew) thickens will come to your rescue!)

Casserole for tea tonight? We've got failsafe recipes!

Casserole – or stew?

Is there a difference? According to people online, yes:

“a distinction can be made between casseroles and stews: stewing is a cooking process whereby heat is applied to the bottom of the cooking vessel (typically over a fire or on a stove), whereas casserole is generally baked in an oven, where heat circulates all around the cooking vessel.”

(Wikipedia)

‘[A] stew would start with generally uncooked ingredients (perhaps except for browning the meat, and likely be mixed together while cooking to give a single-dish of meat, vegetables and sauce. A casserole might include some cooked ingredients, often be more properly layered and probably not mixed while cooking.’

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8742/is-there-a-difference-between-stew-and-casserole

According to most people IRL, however, no. Call it what you like, layer it, brown it and cook it as you like – so long as you end up with everything all in one pot, no-one’s going to call the dictionary police.

Failsafe recipes

We’ve got some failsafe casserole dishes here. The first three are meat-based and entirely original –the last two are vegan and come highly recommended from other websites.

The meat casseroles are based around cooked meat – mainly because a casserole is perhaps the best way there is to make use of leftover roast meat. Note that when cooking meat casseroles, it will make a huge difference if you use high-quality meat and high-quality stock.

The quantities given below are to feed four people – but appetites vary, as do the sizes of onions and cooking pots! The good news is that a casserole is a very forgiving dish and exact quantities simply don’t matter. Don’t get too hung up on exact ingredients either – if you forgot to buy mushrooms, simply leave them out, and if you’ve found an old parsnip at the bottom of your fridge, then yes, why not stick it in?

In short, use these recipes as a good ‘starter’: they work – really well – but there’s nothing to stop you experimenting a little, to make them your very own.

Failsafe chicken casserole

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, sliced or crushed

Olive oil

Handful chopped mushrooms

Handful of chopped bacon (raw or cooked) or chopped ham

Plain flour

Approximately 3 handfuls of chopped cooked chicken

1 pint chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Method

Over a low heat, gently fry the chopped onion and clove of garlic, in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, in the bottom of your casserole dish.

After a couple of minutes, add a handful of chopped mushrooms and some snippets of bacon or ham.

When the mushrooms and onions are soft, add the chopped cooked chicken.

Stir for a couple of minutes, then add two tablespoons of plain flour and coat the ingredients with it. Cook for a further two minutes.

Now add the stock and, as you think necessary, salt and pepper to season.

Bring to a simmer, then transfer to an oven. If you’re eating fairly soon, cook at 180C until the liquid has reduced to the required thickness. If you’re not in a hurry, then cook at a low temperature (as low as 100C is fine) for a couple of hours.

And…why not add dumplings at the end?

 

Failsafe pork casserole

Ingredients

2 leeks, chopped

1 clove of garlic, sliced or crushed

Olive oil

Approximately three handfuls of cooked chopped pork

Plain flour

1 pint chicken stock

Rosemary and sage

2 cooking apples, chopped (no need to peel)

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 dessert-spoon mustard

1 dessert-spoon capers

Salt and pepper

Method

Over a low heat, gently fry the chopped leeks and clove of garlic, in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, in the bottom of your casserole dish.

When soft, add the chopped cooked pork.

Stir for a couple of minutes, then add two tablespoons of plain flour and coat the ingredients with it. Cook for a further two minutes.

Now add the stock, along with a handful of rosemary and sage, the cooking apples and parsnip, and the mustard and capers. As necessary, add salt and pepper to season.

Bring to a simmer, then transfer to an oven. If you’re eating fairly soon, cook at 180C until the liquid has reduced to the required thickness. If you’re not in a hurry, then cook at a low temperature (as low as 100C is fine) for a couple of hours.

And…jacket potato on the side?

Failsafe beef casserole

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped

1 handful chopped mushrooms

Olive oil

Approximately three handfuls of chopped cooked beef

2 parsnips, chopped

Plain flour

½ pint beef stock

Small bottle of red wine (approx. 187ml)

Rosemary and sage

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

Mustard

Method

Over a low heat, gently fry the chopped red onion and mushrooms, in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, in the bottom of your casserole dish.

When soft, add the chopped cooked beef. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped parsnips.

Stir for a further couple of minutes, then add two tablespoons of plain flour and coat the ingredients with it. Cook for a further two minutes.

Now add the stock and red wine, along with a handful of rosemary and sage and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Bring to a simmer, then transfer to an oven. If you’re eating fairly soon, cook at 180C until the liquid has reduced to the required thickness. If you’re not in a hurry, then cook at a low temperature (as low as 100C is fine) for a couple of hours.

At the end, check the seasoning and add some salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in a dessert-spoon of mustard just before removing from the oven.

And…why not add a cobbler topping to the casserole?

Tomato-based vegan casseroles

The recipe below is for a lovely, simple, vegan Mediterranean casserole: tomato-based, spiced and pulse-packed. As with the recipes above, however, you might like to see it really as a template, from which you can create your own dishes. If you want to vary the spices, for instance, others will work brilliantly too. If you’d rather use broccoli than courgettes, there’s no reason why not. And if you’ve got a handful of beans to throw in, instead of lentils – well, there’s no-one to stop you!

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegetarian-casserole

Creamy, cheesy vegan casseroles

If you’re in the mood for something slightly different, you might like to try out one of these recipes instead. They’re creamy, cheesy vegan casseroles – comfort food for everyone!

Creamy vegan potato casserole: https://www.contentednesscooking.com/vegan-potato-casserole/

Creamy pasta and butternut squash vegan casserole: https://www.vegkitchen.com/creamy-pasta-and-butternut-squash-casserole/

 

And now, having sorted out the main course – what’s for pud?

Naturally Good Reads v2

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: ,

This post was written by Yzanne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *