Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chuck Wagon Casserole

A hardy casserole of ground beef, seasoned with onion and bell pepper, some beans and corn, a little mixture of chili seasonings and topped off with rustic, cornmeal dusted biscuits.

Chuckwagon Casserole

It's no secret that I love casseroles - and yes, I love them any time of the year because they generally take little prep work and then go into the oven freeing up your time to do other things. They are an easy way to get a filling and tasty meal on the table with not a lot of effort too.

I know a lot of people want to switch over to no-cook meals, main dish salads, sandwiches, and cooking outside when the summer heat kicks in, but my husband still likes a meal, no matter the season, and cooking outside is pretty rough on me with the heat. Thank goodness for the modern convenience of air conditioning is all I can say!

This is called a Chuck Wagon casserole because it's sort of an all in one meal and one reminiscent of what might have been prepared on the wagon trail, in a Dutch oven over a campfire. Ground beef, seasoned with garlic, onion and bell pepper, beans and corn, a mixture of chili seasonings and for mine, topped off with biscuits dusted with a rustic touch of cornmeal. I would really have liked to have had the dozen biscuits, but I made do with what I had, which was a 10-count roll.

By the way... please don't use the larger, gourmet, jumbo biscuits on a casserole. You want the smaller, regular (in other words cheap-o) biscuits to ensure that they will cook through, so save the jumbo tins for breakfast, or you won't be happy!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. We start with a simple saute of onion, bell pepper and garlic. To that add 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef and cook until lightly browned. Drain off the oil if needed.


To the beef, add the beans, corn, tomato soup, milk, cheese, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning. Stir over medium heat until well blended. Add salt and pepper, to taste.


Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is hot. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool. Remove the casserole from the oven.


Immediately dip the biscuits in the butter and scatter on the top of the hot casserole dish, leaving space in between each biscuit. The biscuits must go directly on the hot casserole to begin cooking on the bottom. Sprinkle the tops of all of the biscuits with cornmeal.


Return to the oven immediately and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown. All ovens vary, so you may need additional time for the biscuits to be completely cooked through. Check the center biscuits on the bottom and return to the oven if needed. Serve immediately with a green vegetable or a side salad.



Recipe: Chuckwagon Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Casserole:
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 12 regular sized canned refrigerated biscuits (not large/jumbo)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornmeal
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until browned; drain if needed. To the beef, add the beans, corn, tomato soup, milk, cheese, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning. Stir over medium heat until well blended. Taste; add salt and pepper, as needed.

Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot. Meanwhile, melt the butter and set aside to cool. Remove the casserole, dip the biscuits in the butter and scatter on the top of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the tops of all of the biscuits with cornmeal. Return to the oven and bake uncovered, at 375 degrees F, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes OR until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown. Check bottoms of center biscuits and return to oven if not cooked through. Serve immediately with a green vegetable or a side salad.

Cook's Notes: Do not allow casserole to cool before adding the biscuits. Add biscuits to hot casserole and return to the oven immediately. Use regular biscuits; do not use jumbo biscuits as they may not cook through well. Please also note all ovens vary, so you may need more time for the biscuits to cook through and brown. Check the center bottoms to see if they need more time. Okay to substitute fresh, homemade or frozen biscuits, but let them thaw before adding them to the casserole. May also halve for a 9 x 9 casserole.

Variation: May also top with a cornbread batter - simply pour on top and bake. Substitute a can of chili beans in sauce for the kidney beans, or use 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce for the tomato soup.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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