Friday, December 16, 2011

Shipwreck Casserole

Shipwreck casserole is a super easy to put together, layered casserole, made with ground beef, onions,  potatoes, and veggies - here I used carrots, bell pepper and celery - and added a layer of rice.
Shipwreck casserole is a super easy to put together, layered casserole, made with ground beef, onions,  potatoes, and veggies - here I used carrots, bell pepper and celery - and added a layer of rice.

Shipwreck Casserole

There is not a single thing particularly unique to me about this Shipwreck Casserole. It's just one of those meat and potatoes, family-pleasing casseroles with a funny name that's been around a long time. It's actually known by a couple of other names too, like Dinner in a Dish, 7-Layer Casserole or Meal in One Supper, but there are at least two stories of lore that are attached to how the name shipwreck came about.

One story goes that following a shipwreck, shipmates grabbed what food they could before abandoning the vessel and this mixture became their supper on land, from the result of what they had gathered. Another claims that this became a traditional dish prepared for survivors and first responders when a disaster at sea had occurred - sort of like our funeral foods down south. I don't know if there's any truth to either story, but I think it'd be fun to play along with it for the kids, and since this is easy enough to throw together, they can even lend a hand in making supper.

As always there are many variations with this casserole and the way that it is layered, but this is the one we like the best. Carrots are one of the few vegetables that The Cajun will eat and paired up here with ground beef, onion, potatoes, bell pepper and rice, means it's a hardy and filling dish that my husband gobbles up! Since there are potatoes, you can skip the rice if you like. It's not uncommon for them to share space in this part of the south, and frankly we like them both in this casserole. Some folks do not precook the meat, but I do prefer to do that and drain off any excess fat.

The real beauty of this casserole is that it is a meal in one dish that you can customize to your own needs. You can stretch this by using as little as one pound of ground beef, or bump it up to a full 2 pounds if you have more hardy eaters. You can use more or less of the veggies too, and there's plenty of room to change them up to your liking. Chopped broccoli, corn, green beans, mixed vegetables, and peas are a few excellent choices. Drained beans are a typical add-in as well.

Try different seasonings too - chili powder, taco seasoning, powdered sloppy joe seasoning mix, oregano, or thyme will all fit. If you're using fresh vegetables though, the one thing this casserole definitely needs, is a dusting of the seasonings, seasoning salt, or plain salt and pepper in between those layers. Don't overdo it, but don't miss that step either. Do keep in mind sodium in any canned products too though, if you're going that route.

Shipwreck Casserole is a delicious, hearty casserole meal that I think you'll love. Here's how to make it.

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Posted by on December 16, 2011
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