Episode 78 – “Casserole Over”

Posted: April 11, 2017 in Season 6
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Broccoli Casserole

The 78th episode of Good Eats is all about America’s potluck favorite:  the casserole. According to Alton, casseroles are either bound, layered, or scooped. The first casserole in this episode is a broccoli casserole, which is a bound casserole. This recipe begins with boiling a large pot of water and prepping 6 C of broccoli; you can use the florets, along with the stems, which you can peel and quarter.

Add a few pinches of Kosher salt to the boiling water and cook the broccoli for one minute, before placing it in ice water. This blanching process will help to preserve the broccoli’s green color.

Next, heat a large skillet with a pat of butter, adding 12 ounces of sliced mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they are browned and tender, remove the pan from the heat, and add the cooled broccoli.

To the broccoli/mushroom mixture, add 1/2 C mayo, 1/2 C yogurt, 1/3 C blue cheese dressing, 2 eggs, a rounded 1/2 C of shredded Cheddar cheese, a package of crumbled Ramen noodles, and the flavor packet from a package of Ramen.

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Spray a lidded casserole dish with non-stick spray (you want the smallest dish possible that will hold your casserole) and add your broccoli mixture.

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Broccoli mixture placed in greased casserole dish.

Sprinkle the top of the casserole with black pepper and another rounded 1/2 C of shredded Cheddar.

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Shredded Cheddar and black pepper on top of casserole.

Bake the casserole, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the casserole lid and let the casserole continue to cook until the cheese forms a nice crust on top.

Cool the casserole for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Alton’s broccoli casserole.

Of the recipes in this episode, this was the one I was most enthusiastic about because I happen to really love broccoli. We both thought this was good, though not super exciting. Really, though, isn’t that just the way of the casserole? The blue cheese flavor was more apparent than I thought it would be, which paired well with the broccoli. The broccoli maintained its texture and color, and the Ramen noodles bound the casserole together nicely. This is a good weeknight recipe for an easy dinner, and it does leave you with leftovers.

Curry Chicken Pot Pie

Alton’s version of chicken pot pie, a scooped casserole, is next up in the casserole episode, and it starts with sweating 1 C each of sliced celery and chopped onion in canola oil with a pinch of Kosher salt.

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Celery and onion, sweating in canola oil with Kosher salt.

While your vegetables are sweating, roast 4 C of frozen vegetable mix in the oven until golden (I roasted my vegetables at 400 degrees).

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Frozen vegetable blend, to be roasted.

Once the vegetables are softened, move them to the edges of the pan and add 2 T butter, 3 T flour, and 1 t curry powder to the center of the pan.

Cook and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk into the pan 1 1/2 C chicken stock and 1/2 C milk that have been heated in the microwave until nearly boiling.

Bring this mixture to a boil and add the roasted vegetables.

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Roasted vegetables added to pan.

Stir in 2 C of cooked shredded chicken.

Place the chicken mixture into a foil-lined terra cotta dish; I used the base of my glazed tagine, so did not bother with lining it.

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Pot pie mixture placed in terra cotta dish.

Place a thawed piece of puff pastry on a floured surface (you can see details of how to thaw puff pastry here), patting its seams. Lightly roll the pastry with a rolling pin to smooth it out, and perforate it with a fork. Using a biscuit cutter, cut 10-12 circles, and place the rounds 1/2″ apart on top of the casserole.

Bake the casserole, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool before serving.

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Alton’s chicken pot pie.

Quite frankly, this pot pie was disappointing. My pastry didn’t puff, which was likely my fault for using older puff pastry. But, more than that, the base of the pot pie was just “meh.” I think this recipe would have been substantially better had Alton used fresh, rather than frozen vegetables, as the vegetables were somewhat rubbery. I would not make this recipe again, as there are surely countless better pot pie recipes available.

Garlic Shrimp Casserole

Last up in this episode is Garlic Shrimp Casserole, which really should be called “Leftover Chinese Food Casserole.” In a saucier, heat 2 C of chicken broth.

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Chicken broth in saucier.

Add a slurry of 2 T cold water with 2 T cornstarch, which will serve to thicken the dish.

Whisk in 1/2 t red pepper flakes and 1/2 C heavy cream.

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Cream and red pepper flakes added to broth.

Pour this mixture over 2 pints of leftover garlic shrimp (or other Chinese leftovers) and a pint of cooked white rice that have been placed in a foil-lined terra cotta dish.

Jiggle the pan and sprinkle the casserole with 3/4 C of toasted Panko breadcrumbs.

Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool before serving.

I threw this together on a busy weeknight, opting to use leftover Chinese beef, rather than shrimp. Honestly, we really didn’t care for this and I would not recommend this recipe. This was just completely underwhelming, which, frankly, I expected after watching the episode. Boring is the best word to describe this recipe. All in all, this episode of Good Eats has to be one of my least favorites thus far. I would possibly make the broccoli casserole again in a pinch, but I would not make the pot pie or the garlic shrimp casseroles again. Here is to hoping that the next episode is more exciting!

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