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Savoring the Seasons: Casseroles, great for company and everyday meals


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

I love chatting with folks who read this column. Last week, I talked with shoppers at Green Fields Market, farmers and shoppers at the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market, and with a friendly receptionist when I made an appointment to get my eyes examined.

Each of those times, I said, “Please send me recipes!” This column is MUCH more fun for me and everyone when I share stories and recipes from readers.

I met Max Hartshorne while I was bagging groceries at Green Fields Market for my co-op member worker hours. He later emailed: “I work at home, so I am always the one who cooks dinner. I get a regular email that I think your readers would really appreciate that provides me with great recipes all week. It is from this website: http://cooking.nytimes.com/. The email they send out is rich with great ideas.”

When I roamed around that website, two casserole recipes leapt out at me. Both feature locally grown food that’s in season right now and both are perfect for serving to guests or for everyday meals. I thought of them when I considered what to make for my “make a big vat of something, then eat it for lunch at my part-time job this week” lunches.

What are your favorite casserole recipes?

This week we’re eating ...

Sausage and Cabbage

(from http://nyti.ms/2g65ytP)

Salt

3 T. unsalted butter

2 pounds fresh sweet Italian pork sausages or bulk sausage

1 large green or Savoy cabbage, about 4 pounds, cored and thickly shredded

Freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread and mustard, for serving

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and butter 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. If using sausages, remove casings and discard them. Place cabbage in boiling water, cover, and let water come back to boil. Uncover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain cabbage in colander and run cold water over it to stop cooking. Put about one-third of cabbage in buttered dish and cover with half of the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Repeat, ending with a final layer of cabbage, and dot top with butter. Cover dish tightly with a layer of parchment paper, then top with lid or layer of aluminum foil. Cook for about 2½ hours, until cabbage is soft and sweet, and top is lightly browned. After 2 hours, uncover dish: if there is a lot of liquid in the bottom, leave uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. If not, re-cover and finish cooking.

Sweeney Potatoes

(from nyti.ms/2gh5c1P)

2½ pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

½ C. unsalted butter, melted, plus more butter for the pan

1 C. sour cream

¼ to ½ C. whole milk

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

2½ C. freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put potatoes in large heavy-bottomed pot and cover with cold water. Set on stove over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow potatoes to simmer until they have just started to soften, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Combine cream cheese, melted butter, and sour cream in large bowl and stir to combine. Add enough milk so that mixture is creamy but not soupy. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes to bowl and stir gently to combine. Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Tip half the potatoes into dish and spread to edges, then scatter half the grated cheese over the top. Add remaining potatoes and spread to edges, then top with remaining cheese. Bake until casserole is bubbling at edges and cheese has melted across the top, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving, if you’d like.

Local food advocate and community organizers Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmclinto@yahoo.com