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CASSEROLE - Defined

CASSEROLE—French name for a saucepan. It is also the name of a metal or earthenware tureen with a flat bottom, fitted with lid and handles. Various entrées are cooked and served "en casserole", thus forming a pot roast or kind of braise.

Casserole Cookery

Probably casseroles of French or German ware, which are ‘Tine-grained” and thoroughly “burned,” are the most durable, and those of Japanese ware, which are rather coarse, are the least durable, of all the dishes found in the shops for this use.

Still, the coarse, cheap Japanese casseroles will stand much service, if they be properly treated. A fine, highly glazed and finished French dish will stand being filled with a cold liquid when the dish is hot, or it may be used for sautéing the article that is to be cooked in it; but neither of these things should be attempted with Japanese ware.

If the liquid in a casserole needs replenishing, add hot water from the teakettle; that is, if the heating of a little stock in a saucepan seems too much of an effort. The evaporation of all, or a large portion, of the liquid from the casserole would seem to indicate rapid cooking, — a condition most undesirable, when the best results are looked for.

Recipes for Casserole Cooking

Standard Casserole Dish

Cook the article, separated into joints, in butter, bacon, or salt-pork fat, made hot in a frying-pan, until browned on one side. Then turn the pieces and brown the other side. Put the joints into the casserole: put in about a pint of hot stock or water, cover the dish, and set into the oven.

If it be young chicken, partridge, squirrel, whole squab, or quail, let cook at a gentle simmer about an hour and a quarter. Then add two dozen potato balls or cubes, one dozen tiny young onions or peeled fresh mushroom caps, and a dozen slices of carrot, all browned in the frying-pan, and three or four tablespoonfuls of sherry wine, with salt and pepper to season.

Cover closely and let cook fifteen or twenty minutes longer. Send to the table in the dish, and without removing the cover. Flour and water mixed to a thin dough may be rolled into a rope or string, under the hands, and pressed upon the casserole, where the dish and cover meet, to keep in flavor.

Potatoes en Casserole

Potatoes en Casserole

Cut French potato balls from pared, raw potatoes. Put one-fourth a cup of butter in an earthen casserole. Turn in three cups of the balls and a teaspoonful of salt. Shake the dish over the fire until the potatoes are evenly buttered and salted.

Then pour in a cup and a half of boiling water or white broth. Cover the dish and set it into the oven. Shake the dish occasionally or lift the balls at the bottom of the dish, that all may be evenly cooked.

They will require about forty-five minutes to cook in a moderate oven. Add a little stock or cream when nearly cooked, also additional seasoning, if needed. Serve from the casserole.

VEAL CUTLETS EN CASSEROLE

Have slices of veal cut from the leg. Cut about pounds of such veal into pieces suitable for serving individually, remove all inedible portions, and draw into each 2 short strips (lardons) of fat, salt pork. Or the pieces of pork may be put into the casserole.

Dredge the meat with flour and cook it in a frying-pan with a little salt pork or bacon fat, olive oil or butter, until nicely browned, then transfer the meat to a casserole, turn a pint of hot water or white broth into the frying-pan to melt the glaze from the pan, then turn the liquid over the meat, cover the dish and let cook in the oven about an hour.

In the meanwhile prepare as many small onions as there are persons to serve, let these boil for a half an hour or longer, then drain, rinse in cold water and drain again, when they are ready for the casserole. Have ready 5 or 6 potato balls for each service, let these be about 1 inch in diameter; also have tiny carrots, 1 each, or several slices of larger carrots for each service.

These also should be parboiled, rinsed, and drained. Peel for each service 1 or more mushroom caps, and sauté these in a little butter. About 20 minutes before the dish is to be served, add the vegetables to the casserole, also broth if needed, salt and pepper, with half a cup of sherry wine or tomato Purée, and if desired, 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour mixed to a paste with water. Cover and bind with a strip of cloth as described above. Then finish the cooking.

PORK CHOPS EN CASSEROLE

Let 2 cooking spoons of lard get smoking hot in casserole, drop in chops and brown as quickly as possible, regard-, less of cooking through. Lift out chops and stir into the remaining fat, until brown, 3 tablespoons of flour. Then take equal parts milk and water to make a thin gravy; put chops back in gravy and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. 

SQUABS IN THE CASSEROLE

Stuff the well-cleaned birds with the following dressing: 3 thick slices of stale bread squeezed quickly out in water, 1 large onion grated, salt spoon of sage, salt and pepper to taste, butter the size of an egg, 1 raw egg to bind it; stir lightly with a fork. About enough to stuff 6 birds. Sew up; place in casserole with one-half cup of water or better, stock, and roast 1 hour in a hot oven.           

FRESH FISH EN CASSEROLE

Any fish from which pieces about 3 inches square may be taken can be used for this dish. Salmon, cod, haddock and halibut are all available in Boston markets. Remove all skin and bone from the fish; put them over the fire in cold water to cover and let simmer an hour; pour off the broth and set it aside until ready to cook the fish.

Peel 8 small onions; cover with cold water and let cook 1 hour, changing the water after 10 minutes. Cook a dozen and a half of balls, cut from raw potatoes, in boiling salted water 5 or 6 minutes, then drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Pour a cup of cold water over 1 pint of oysters, and look them over carefully, to remove bits of shell; strain the liquid and add it to the fish stock.

Put the pieces of fish stock, of which there should be about one pound and a half into the casserole, add the onions and the fish broth, heat to the boiling point and season to taste with salt and pepper; cover the dish and let cook about 20 minutes; add the potatoes and in about 10 minutes add 2 teaspoons of butter, the oysters, and, if desired 2 teaspoons of flour mixed to a thin paste with cream or milk; let cook 4 minutes. Serve in the dish.

CHICKEN EN CASSEROLE

Separate the chicken into pieces at the joints and wipe each with a wet cloth; sauté in butter melted in a frying pan, first on one side and then on the other until delicately browned; then transfer the pieces to the casserole; add about a pint of hot broth (made from veal or chicken) or boiling water, put on the cover and let cook in a moderately heated oven about 1 hour and a quarter.

Melt 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and in it sauté 6 or 8 peeled mushroom caps, a dozen slices or balls (cut with French cutter) of carrot, two dozen potato balls and six peeled onions the size of the potato balls.

As soon as these are browned remove them to the casserole add more broth if needed, 4 tablespoons of sherry wine, and salt to season; set the cover in place and return to the oven for another half hour or until the vegetables are tender, when chicken should be cooked. In theory the casserole should not be opened after the vegetables and wine are added until it reaches the table.

BEEFSTEAK EN CASSEROLE

Use 2 pounds of round steak cut from 1 inch to 1 ½” thick. The steak may be left whole or cut into pieces each 2 inches square. Heat an iron frying pan, rub over the surface with a bit of fat from meat, put in the steak and cook, first on one side and then on the other, to harden the meat on the outside and thus keep the juice in; put the meat in the casserole; put in also a dozen and a half pieces each of carrots and turnips.

The vegetables may be cut in similar shaped slices, cubes, or triangles, or they may be cut into balls with a French cutter; add also about a dozen very small onions nicely peeled, a tablespoon of kitchen bouquet, and a generous pint of brown stock or boiling water.

Cover and let cook very gently in the oven about an hour and a half. After cooking an hour add salt and more broth if needed. Serve from casserole. The vegetables may be browned in one-fourth of a cup of drippings before being put into the casserole. For this style of cooking, round steak gives a richer dish than does a sirloin steak and should be selected when the cooking is to be done in a casserole.

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Vintage Culinary Terms - "C"