Saturday, February 28, 2009

Velveeta Crabmeat Au Gratin

A crabmeat au gratin casserole made with a butter and cream sauce and topped with Velveeta.
A crabmeat au gratin casserole made with a butter and cream sauce and topped with Velveeta.

Velveeta Crabmeat Au Gratin

I picked up some crabmeat the other day, thinking that I would cook some pan fried crab cakes. Then decided nah, didn't want crab cakes ... maybe a casserole instead, but changed my mind again before I finally settled in on doin' an au gratin. Cheese. Now that appealed to this Lenten sweets deprived little ole me. Oh yeah!! That's really how I cook anyway - never much on planning ahead, mostly cooking on the fly.

I adapted this recipe from one in Best of the Best from Bell's Best Cookbook (say that 4 times fast) which is a compilation of recipes from the TelecomPioneers of Mississippi. The purchase of one of their cookbooks helps with Pioneer projects such as Habitat homes and building playgrounds and supports their other educational and health related projects ... just in case yer interested.

I know some people don't think they want Velveeta in their au gratin, and I also realize that the picture pretty much looks like a big blob of gooey, cheesy globness, but it really is delicious! I mean, it is crab ... how could you go wrong?

Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Velveeta Crabmeat Au Gratin

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound of lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, minced
  • 1 stalk (rib) of celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) or cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 8 ounces of Velveeta, cubed

Pick through the crabmeat for stray shell; place into a colander to drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender. Stir in the flour a little at a time until fully incorporated; cook for 5 minutes. Slowly add the evaporated milk and half and half until fully incorporated. Quickly stir in the egg yolks and then the salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook for another 5 minutes. Mixture will be fairly thick.

Transfer the crab to the prepared baking dish and pour the cream mixture over. Microwave the cheese on medium heat just until loose pourable. Pour over the top of the crab mixture and using a spatula, gently push the cheese to evenly cover the top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until top is browned. Serve with a nice garden salad, and steamed broccoli or other non-starchy veggie.

Cook's Note: Can substitute Cheez Whiz, American cheese, or other cheeses as desired.

Tip: To easily pick out any shell, spread crab on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 3 minutes. The shell will be visible and easy to pick out.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from Best of the Best from Bell's Best Cookbook
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Posted by on February 28, 2009
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