Gourmet Casserole/Make Ahead Dish for Friend with New Baby (recipe request)
I like to make lasagne for friends with new babies but now my most gourmet, epicurian friend just had a baby and I don't think lasagne is going to cut it. I have one casserole recipe that is wonderful (involving proscuitto, gorgonzola) but I have already made it for this friend and she has added it to her repertoire so I wouldn't be surprised if she made some and froze it already! I use epicurious.com regularly so if you know of a recipe just send key words my way to keep it simple and I will track it down. Thanks in advance!
re: blue room
It doesn't look like it would take as long but making the eggplant part is time consuming. I always get great feedback with it. I also will make a seasoned shepard's pie, using the meat mixture only, layering w/ corn and mashed potatoes. Again, not authentic, but good.
2 large eggplants
1 c. flour
1 c. olive oil
1 lb. bulk sausage meat
2 c. chopped onions
2 lbs. ground lamb
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crumbled dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 c. tomato puree
3/4 c. minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. red wine
12-14 spinach leaves
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. light cream
1/2 tsp. salt
Nutmeg to taste
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
Peel and slice eggplants crosswise. Salt well and set in single layer of paper towels. Set aside to bleed for 30 minutes. Pat dry. Place flour in paper bag and shake a few slices of eggplant at a time to coat. Heat oil and large skillet and lightly saute eggplant slices. Set aside. Brown sausage meat in skillet, drain off fat, reserving 2 tbsp and set aside. Saute onions in 1 Tpsb of reserved fat, add to reserved sausage meat. Brown lamb in skillet, seasoning w/ oregano and salt. Add to reserved sausage mixture. In 1 tbsp fat, saute garlic until just starting to turn golden. Add tomato puree, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well, then add wine and reserved meat mixture. Simmer, uncovered until all liquid is absorbed. Butter 5 qt casserole. Layer eggplant on bottom. Cover w/ meat mixture. Add spinach leaves and top w/ mushrooms. Melt butter in saucepan until foamy, sprinkle w/ flour, stir until smooth and thickened. Season w/ salt and nutmeg and pour over casserole. Top w/ ricotta cheese. Bake an hour at 400 degrees.
re: blue room
I never fry/saute eggplant anymore because of the gigantic thirst it has for oil. I use the brush it with oil and brown in a hot oven til wilted method.
Also, Chowser's recipe says to add oil to pan and that's ONE CUP. After browning the eggplant we're asked to add the lamb to the skillet. Well, either the eggplant has absorbed most of the cup of oil or there's a lot left in the skillet when the lamb goes in.
This doesn't seem right. Am I misreading something?
Yeah, the first time I made it, it was scary how much oil the eggplant absorbed. I didn't measure when I cooked it, either, but it seemed like I just kept adding oil. Since then, I've brushed it with oil and baked it,as you've said. I thought I'd post the recipe as it is but I probably should have said how I've revamped the recipe. I also use ground beef and not lamb. BTW, the first time I made it, it didn't taste oily at all surprisingly. Honestly, I think it tasted better which is why I left it as is.
Not sure if this fits the "gourmet" requirement or not...plus is she nursing? If she is, this may not qualify but Epi has a lovely Polenta and Black Bean casserole that we devour; sometimes I'll sub regular salsa for the salsa verde and I always make my own polenta for it. You might also check out their other baked polenta recipes which sound quite elegant! Oops, another good casserole at Epi is Baked Rigatoni with Ham and Tomatoes, very rich!
I LOVE this dish. Not exactly a casserole, but it is sooo yummy. I've modified it from a Nigella recipe:
one package Halumi (Greek cheese that doesn't melt like other cheeses-- you can find it at Whole Foods) cut into 3/4" chunks
veggies of your choice-- I usually do zuchinni, sweet potato, yellow squash, tomato, some shallots
fresh herbs of your choice-- maybe some thyme, some parsley, marjoram, whatever you like
fresh ground black pepper
toss it all in a baking dish and bake until veggies are done and the cheese chunks are brown
The cheese is salty and seasons the veggies. Serve with a big salad and some nice crusty bread with butter. Mmmm.
BAKED SHRIMP W/TOMATOES
1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus 2T
1 large onion, chopped
1 14-1/2 can diced tomatoes
2 T chopped parsley
1 T oregano
1 4 oz. Can diced green chilis
4 cloves garlic, miced
1 lb. Uncooked shrimp, peeled
1 large fennel bulb, diced
1⁄4 ouzo or sambucca (optional)
4 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions & fennel. Saute until golden, about 12 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, parsley, oregano & garlic. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Season w/salt & pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead) Cover, chil, reheat before continuing.
Preheat oven to 400 deg. Heat 2 T olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp & sauté until almost opaque (about 2 minutes). Remove skillet from heat & add ouzo. Add tomatoe sauce, stir. Sprinkle cheese over & bake 10 minutes
I made the Whole Foods recipe for Southwestern King Ranch casserole (as found in the Best American Recipes book) for my friends with a new baby a few weeks ago. It's very good, and can be eaten for a few meals.
Here's a version of it I found on the web:
Southwest King Ranch Casserole
Recipe By :
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Poultry
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded cooked boneless chicken
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cups bottled tomatillo sauce
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green chilies, drained
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add
onions, and cook them until they are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Blend
in garlic, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Add chicken, and heat
through. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in cilantro.
In a small bowl, combine the cheeses.
On the bottom of an 8 x 8 1/2-inch pan at least 2 inches deep, spread 1
cup of the tomatillo sauce. Top with 4 tortillas, overlapping as
necessary. Spread half the sour cream evenly over the tortillas. Add 1/2
cup of the remaining tomatillo sauce, 1 1/2 cups of the chicken filling, 1
cup cheese mixture, and one half of the green chilies.
Top with 4 more tortillas, the remainder of the sour cream, tomatillo
sauce, and chicken filling, 1 cup of the cheese mixture, and the remaining
green chilies. End with 1 cup cheese mixture sprinkled on top. Bake for
about 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly on the surface.
I made this on saturday and it was DELICIOUS! I can't thank you enough. One question: Where do you find your tomatillo sauce? I made this using tomatillo salsa (whole Foods) and it was just a little bit too spicy. I took the cumin down a hair anticipating that but it wasn't enough. For nursing moms I figure I have to avoid the spice plus less spicy means my son will eat so it's a worthwhile compromise. Thanks in advance . . .