Comforting Casseroles

Two oven-to-table recipes using cool-weather crops.
Turnip green casserole topped with crispy corn bread proves southern comfort doesn’t always come in a bottle.

Turnip green casserole topped with crispy corn bread proves southern comfort doesn’t always come in a bottle.

Turnip green casserole topped with crispy corn bread proves southern comfort doesn’t always come in a bottle.

A casserole (French for “saucepan”) is a dish that is heavy, often lidded, oven-safe, and can be used as a serving dish as well as a cooking vessel. Casserole dishes are so convenient and widely used that the name has become synonymous with the oven-to-table meals they bear. 

By that definition, a lot of things can be considered casseroles. Most tend to assign the name to meals baked in the namesake dish that combine multiple ingredients in a stew-like fashion, but are oven-baked and thick enough to eat with a fork. Casseroles are usually easy to make with basic ingredients. They are the ultimate comfort food.

Casseroles can be made using meat, fish or vegetables and are often held together by denser components like potatoes, rice, pasta or eggs. Casseroles are sometimes topped with something crunchy (think bread crumbs, potato chips or French fried onions). Clearly the rules are flexible, but we know it when we see it.

With the arrival of fall, there is no better time to embrace the easy warmth that comes when casserole is what’s for dinner (or even breakfast).  We’re celebrating the season with a couple of comforting casseroles that make great use of cool weather crops straight from the garden.

Turnip Green Casserole

  • 4 pounds fresh turnip greens, stems removed, washed, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups corn bread, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large saucepan, boil turnip greens and 1 teaspoon salt for 5 minutes and drain.

Combine greens, onion, eggs, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup Parmesan, Dijon and pepper together and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Toss corn bread with melted butter and 1/4 cup Parmesan and spread evenly over greens.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 pound ground sausage (spicy or mild)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed white bread
  • 9 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook sausage and onions together in a skillet, stirring to break apart, until sausage is browned.

Spread bread cubes evenly into the bottom of a 3 quart (9"x13") casserole dish.

Spread sausage and onions over bread cubes in an even layer.

Whisk together eggs and milk.

Add spinach, onion, pepper, salt and cheese and stir to combine.

Pour egg mix over sausage in baking dish.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, until firm and lightly browned.

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