Friday, March 05, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect.

I leave you today with an alternative - and very tasty - topping to a casserole, which makes a change to dumplings. This works equally as well with a meat based stew or a vegetable one. Depending upon how many you wish to serve, use as many slices of bread as you need to cover the surface of the casserole, remembering the slices are overlapped. The amount given is to top a casserole to feed six, cooked in a 2 litre pot, but see no reason why extra slices couldn't be prepared, then interleaved and frozen, to be thawed and put on top of another casserole at a later date.
The timings are based on a casserole cooked at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 2 hours. If wish to cook your casserole at a lower heat for a longer time, allow for this, and increase the heat after adding the bread to allow it to crisp up.

Marmite and Mustard Casserole Topping:
a couple of dozen or so thin slices baguette
1 clove garlic, peeled
unsalted butter, softened
Dijon mustard
Rub the bread slices with the garlic on one side only. Butter the reverse side and spread with Marmite, mustard, or both.
Thirty to forty minutes before the casserole is cooked, remove the lid and place the sliced bread, butter/spread side up, overlapping the slices slightly, and pushing the under (garlic) side into the gravy. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for 30 -45 minutes longer or until the bread is golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

The above 'crusty topping' reminds me of the bread and cheese which is toasted then floated on top of French Onion Soup. So see no reason why it couldn't be slices of buttered bread topped with grated cheese, or buttered bread, mustard and cheese, to pop on top of a casserole. Cheese would be particularly good if the casserole is veggie based. An 'instant spread' could be made by mashing butter with mustard, or butter with Marmite, or butter with mustard AND Marmite. Store this in pots in the fridge and use when required (might even work with breakfast toast). Goes without saying that grated cheese should always be to hand in the fridge/freezer.