Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Harvest Casserole

My gardening days are almost over for 2010, but not quite yet! Last night I picked a Hungarian wax pepper, Swiss chard, a leek, and some chives to add to my fall harvest casserole.

I harvested Swiss Chard, a leek, a Hungarian wax pepper, and some chives from my garden on October 27!

I soaked the sliced leek in a bowl of water. Leeks tend to hold some of the garden soil
in their layers, and soaking allows the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. To avoid reconstituting
the dirt with the leeks, scoop them out with a silted spoon or your fingers.

The casserole I made for dinner last night cannot be found in a recipe book — it is another one of my what’s-on-hand creations. This is what I used for ingredients, incorporated into the basic assembly/cooking instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 325ยบ.
  • I added minced garlic, a tiny bit of cumin, and a few dashes of mustard powder to thawed purรฉed Boston Marrow Squash and thawed cubed Boston Marrow squash (see my post, Some Serious Squash!).
  • Diced grilled chicken. I used left-over chicken from last night’s grilled chicken salads.
  • I sautรฉed the pepper, leeks, and minced garlic from my garden in butter. Once the veggies softened, I added some water and a teaspoon of condensed chicken stock and reduced it for a few minutes. Then I added chopped Swiss chard and sautรฉed it until it was wilted.
  • I mixed the squash and the leek/garlic/Swiss chard concoction together in the casserole dish; topped it with the diced chicken; covered it with foil; and put it in the oven at 325ยบ for 15 minutes to warm it.
  • While the base of the casserole was in the oven warming, I cut prosciutto into thin, 1" strips.
  • I then pulled out a baggie of shredded cheddar from the fridge and a baggie of homemade breadcrumbs from the cupboard — ingredients for the casserole topping.
  • When the squash and chicken base of the casserole was almost done warming, I melted a few tablespoons of butter in a small sautรฉ pan, turned off the heat, and tossed the breadcrumbs and prosciutto in it.
  • I removed the casserole dish from the oven, bumped the heat up to 350ยบ, removed the foil from the casserole dish, sprinkled the cheddar over the casserole base, and covered it with the breadcrumb/prosciutto topping.
  • I placed the casserole dish uncovered back in the oven for 20 minutes. When it came out, the casserole was bubbling and the topping was crispy and golden.

Fresh out of the oven — I knew my fall casserole was ready because the squash base
was bubbling up at the corners and the topping was golden and crispy.

I served the casserole with a side salad and some rolls. In the salad the only veggies that came from my yard were the chives. I will be sad when my garden harvests are no longer a part of dinner. But until then I will enjoy the fruits of my labor (what still remains, that is)!

— Kristy L. Rustay, Marketing Manager

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