Friday, November 7, 2008

Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping

A definitive southern favorite, and often called funeral or party potatoes, hash brown potatoes are combined with cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion and cheddar cheese for a well loved casserole.
A definitive southern favorite, and often called funeral or party potatoes, hash brown potatoes are combined with cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion and cheddar cheese for a well loved casserole.

Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole

Every southerner likely has this one in their recipe box with some variation. This is often referred to as a Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole copycat, but honestly I don't eat at Cracker Barrel much myself, so I'm not qualified to attest to that. I do know it's one of those recipes just about everybody has either made at one time or another, or have certainly eaten. Traditionally made with cream of chicken soup, I have successfully used mushroom and celery too, since I generally go with what I happen to have in the pantry. Use cream of chicken if you have it, or use whatever is in your pantry.

My favorite version has fast become the bacon ranch variation at the bottom, which subs in two containers of sour cream and omits the cream soup, but the French onion version substituting the dip for the sour cream is really good too.

You can use either the shredded frozen hash brown potatoes or the southern style cubed hash browns. Both are excellent, though I have to admit that I favor the shredded kind. Of course, you can also shred your own potatoes if you prefer, though you'll have to make sure they are squeezed very dry. I personally think the frozen ones are just much easier to use and frankly work the best.

This is a great side dish casserole that has been around forever, and works just as well for the holidays as it does for Sunday suppers, or potlucks and church suppers, reunions and family gatherings, and even as a casserole for the grieving - and how it earned the name funeral potatoes. You can easily halve it when you just want to make it for your family.

This casserole is also a wonderful way to use leftover meats from the holiday too - ham is great, but turkey and pork work well also. Be sure to try the Bacon Ranch version pictured in the photos above at the bottom of the recipe too!

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Recipe: Sour Cream Hash Brown Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 10 servings

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (recommend Great for Cooking version)
  • 2 cups sour cream (full fat is best)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper grinder
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (30 ounce) bag frozen southern style diced or shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion just until soft, but not browned. Stir in the soup, sour cream, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the cheese until blended in well. Add the potatoes and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Turn out into prepared baking dish. Mix the 3 tablespoons of melted butter with the cracker crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Cook's Notes: Instead of topping with crackers, may use French fried onions, or simply top the casserole with extra cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking. May also eliminate the sour cream, but increase the butter to a full 1/2 cup. Can substitute other cream soups (cream of celery, cream of mushrooms) and okay to use the lower fat/sodium soups also. Try the roasted garlic cream of mushroom for a change. Also great with cubed leftover ham, pork or turkey stirred in to make it a main dish.

Popular add-ins include green and red bell pepper, one (3 ounce) well drained jar of pimentos, 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeno slices, chopped, and/or Cajun or Creole seasoning.

Crockpot: Prepare as above, except add 1 soup can of milk. Mix and transfer to a slow cooker that you've buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours. Omit cracker topping.

Bacon Ranch "Crack" Potatoes: Prepare as above, except omit the cream soup and increase sour cream to two (16 ounce) containers, add two envelopes of dry Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix (such as Hidden Valley) and 1/3 cup of chopped, cooked bacon.

French Onion Hash Brown Casserole: Substitute French onion dip for the sour cream.

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole: Transform this to a breakfast casserole by omitting soup, reducing sour cream to 1 cup and adding in 4 eggs, beaten with 1-1/2 cups milk. Add in 1/2 pound cooked and crumbled sausage, bacon, chopped, baked ham or diced smoked sausage. Mix as above and pour into prepared baking dish.


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Posted by on November 7, 2008

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