Thursday, January 22, 2009

Car Crash Casserole

I made Upside Down Shepherd's Pie from My Veggie Kitchen to take to my cousin Nancy's the day we were hit driving home. I had the dish on my lap with the leftovers in it when we were hit. I remember thinking is sort of a strange dazed sort of way when I looked down after the impact how interesting it was that all the food had ended on on the left when we were hit on the left side. Rob remembers wondering what hit his arm during the crash and he realized it was the casserole dish. The kids were very worried that we left the casserole in the car when we were given a ride home (we were sweetly given a ride home...all five of us...from someone at the scene and I didn't feel like saying "wait, I must get our leftovers out of the mangled wreckage of our car before we leave"). So now this dish has become forever in my mind "Car Crash Casserole". Now, I don't want that to keep you from making it because it is darn yummy so you can call it whatever you wish. I've changed it quite a bit from Matt's already excellent recipe so I am actually giving you my recipe, but go on over to My Veggie Kitchen and check out the genius which was my spring board. I don't give recipes often because I usually look through blogs or cookbooks for inspiration and even though I rarely stick to other people's recipes, I hate to reprint when I've only made a few changes. In this case, I feel like I've changed enough, but as I said, Matt's post was definitely the inspiration. I also used some of the seasoning from Vegan with a Vengeance's Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy (which I don't think I've actually ever crazy is that?) This is for my sister, Karen, who complained (nicely) that I rarely post recipes on my blog.Car Crash Casserole:

6 cups mashed potatoes* (honestly, I have never measured...enough mashed potatoes to cover the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 casserole dish...I usually use 7 - 10 potatoes depending on the size and I have some left for the kids to chow down on while they wait for the casserole to cook)

3 tbs Earth Balance (you could also use olive oil, I have an it was fine)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches ground cumin
2 pinches paprika
pinch dried rosemary (crumbled in your fingers)
pinch dried thyme
pinch dried oregano
pinch ground coriander
3 tablespoons tamari (you can omit, but up the sea salt a bit)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bunch kale (de-stemmed and cut into strips)
1 cup broccoli florets (I still chop them up for ease in eating for the kids)
1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced (I've omitted when I didn't have mushrooms on hand)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 large carrots (chopped)
1 can chickpeas, drained (or your favorite bean...cannellini works well too)
2 cups vegetable broth (I also use 1 cup veg. broth and 1 cup cooking water from the potatoes)
1/2 cup soymilk (is fine without or use your favorite non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

**"Crunchies" for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt Earth Balance (or heat up olive oil) in a sauce pan (I use a 10 in. cast iron skillet). Add onion and mushrooms (if using) and saute until soft. Stir in garlic, broccoli, and spices, and cook until garlic is aromatic. Add the flour, stirring constantly for a minute or two. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low.

Spread mashed potatoes in a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish, spreading the potatoes evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Pour in the filling. Bake for 45 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle the crunchies evenly over the top of the casserole (you might want to do a light sprinkling or pile it on...up to you). Bake for another 5 minutes, but not too long or the topping will burn.

Try different vegetable and bean combos. I do highly suggest having at least two green vegetables and the more colorful the better tasting.

*Mashed Potatoes
I'm guessing you all know how to mash potatoes, but here is what I do. I bowl the sliced potatoes for about 20 minutes, drain (saving the liquid), and mash with a hand masher with a handful of nutritional yeast, fresh ground pepper, and sea salt. If it needs more liquid, I add the reserved liquid from boiling the potatoes. Sometimes I add red pepper flakes, minced garlic, non-dairy milk, etc.

**Garlic Bread Topping (or Crunchies):
1 tablespoon olive oil (you may want more)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I've made it without bread crumbs...the pumpkin seeds and walnuts are the important part, in my opinion)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pumpkin seeds
red pepper flakes to taste

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet on low/medium low heat, add the garlic and saute for couple minutes then add the remaining ingredients and mix together and serve over pasta (or if you are like Rob just eat it with left over sauce and don't wait for any pasta).


Jumbleberry Jam said...

Dear me! This sounds yummy! Perfect winter comfort food. Thanks for the recipe :-)

VeganLinda said...

Wow, you are quick! It is yummy. My family liked it better than the tater tot version, but if you really like tater should try the original.

VeganLinda said...

I forgot to mention it is pretty much a complete meal by itself, but we usually have fruit and a salad with it. It is also easy to make wheat free and/or soy free (I believe you would just need to omit the tamari and the bread crumbs...if you omit the tamari you could add a couple teaspoons of miso). You can make it soy free by ommiting both the tamari and the soy milk.). I've done both with fine results.

Jumbleberry Jam said...

We had this tonight...brilliant! :-) Thanks again for the great recipe!