Erica’s Casserole

Hi, folks! While I’m busy moving house, enjoy this little recipe! The method came down to me through my mother’s family, so far as I can remember, and I have absolutely no idea where the name came from. In any case, this is a good winter warmer dish that’s fairly quick and easy to make.

Ingredients (quantities as shown serve 2):

  • 114g/4oz potatoes, rounded up to the nearest whole potato

  • six rashers back bacon

  • 25g/1oz butter

  • plain flour

  • milk

  • 50g/2oz cheese, crumbled or grated (a good mature cheddar is ideal)

  • mustard, smooth or wholegrain (or both!) (optional but very flavoursome)

Method:

  1. Scrub the potatoes clean of any mud/soil/dirt. Do NOT peel them – peeling loses valuable roughage, vitamins, and minerals that exist just under the skin. Cut the potatoes into quarters or eighths, depending on their size.

  2. Put the potatoes in a saucepan with enough boiling water to cover them, return to the boil and cook over a medium heat until soft. When you can push a knife (use the same one you used for the previous step) through the largest chunk with little resistance, they are ready.

  3. While the potatoes are cooking, start the cheese sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add one wooden spoon’s worth of plain flour. Combine the butter and flour over a low heat, then carefully add the milk, a little at a time, until you have a moderately liquid roux. Stir all the time to break up lumps and prevent more from forming, and make sure that you have enough sauce to cover all the ingredients when they’re in the casserole dish.

  4. Once you have a smooth, liquid roux, add the cheese (and mustard to taste, if using – this adds a bit of extra zing) and stir over a low heat until well combined.

  5. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and place half into a casserole dish. Place half the bacon on top and cover with about half the cheese sauce. Wait for about 10-20 seconds to allow the sauce to penetrate the spaces in the bottom layer, then add the rest of the potatoes, bacon, and cheese sauce as before. If you wish, sprinkle some more cheese and/or grated black pepper on top of the casserole.

    1. Once all ingredients are in the casserole dish, they should not come more than halfway up the sides – if you’ve ever heated milk in a saucepan, you know that it can boil over if you don’t watch it; exactly the same thing applies here, as the sauce contains milk and can overflow during cooking.

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Once it’s up to temperature, place the casserole on a middle shelf and cook for half an hour (for the quantities given above). Once it’s done, remove and serve immediately with green vegetables.

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