Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dry Beef Casserole, Part Two

So, the moment of truth arrived. First, we took the casserole out of the fridge and let it sit for about an hour so it would be somewhere near room temperature when we put it in the oven. I used to work at a Pfaltzgraff store, and distinctly recall the stories of people who would complain that we said you could freeze the stoneware and put it in the oven, and couldn't understand that going straight from freezer to preheated oven could very well be why the casserole cracked. Even though this was only in the fridge, I still decided it'd be best to let it warm up a bit, and to put it in the oven while it was still preheating. When I took it out of the fridge, the liquid had largely soaked into the macaroni, as you can see.

I dusted it with bread crumbs and topped it with a thin layer of cheese, just for fun and to give it a little crunch. It was in perhaps a bit too long for that extra topping, so while the cheese didn't burn, it was starting to flirt with disaster. Nonetheless, it was quite good. Next time I might wait to add the cheese five or ten minutes before it's finished cooking.

The finished product was much as I remembered. The idea of including hard-boiled eggs in a casserole is a bit odd on paper, and yet it works quite well in practice. Linda suggested we let it sit for a few minutes before we dished it out, but I suspect three minutes wasn't quite enough. Because there's not much to hold it all together, it was a bit messy to dish out. After it cooled, the pieces came out quite well, so it seems I should have left it in the pan a bit longer. Still, not a bad main dish. And while I don't think it's traditional Pennsylvania Dutch (though I could be wrong), it still fits in that there's nothing green involved, unless you count that tiny bit of onion.

As a fast, cheap, easy dish you can prepare for a no-fuss supper the following day, it's tough to beat. Ice Station Zebra wasn't bad, either, though at 2.5 hours, it far exceeds the total prep time for this casserole!


Anonymous said...

Uncooked, it looks a bit arty. And a topping of breadcrumbs and cheese improves just about everything. I agree about the non-Dutchiness of the recipe, but the hard boiled egg helps it, I think. Although, it does seem to be a strange addition to a baked casserole. Growing up, my mom often made Cream Chipped Beef on Toast--a meal I never liked. I wonder if I would like it now?

Nancy said...

Hey there! I never got a notification of your comment, so I apologize for the delay!

It is a Dutchie recipe in that it has the dry beef, and yeah, the egg helps. It's odd, and yet it works. I've always loved anything with dry beef in it, though cream dried beef on toast was always something we ate when we were sick, for some reason! Fortunately, I still like it anyway. ;)

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