Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chinese Casserole

Chinese Casserole
contributed by Mrs. Mary West, Salt Lake, Utah
Favorite Recipes of America: Casseroles
Because nothing screams Chinese food like condensed mushroom soup and potato chips, I guess?

Have no illusions, this dish, while delicious, is only "Chinese" in the sense that you can throw any salty, gooey slop into a pot, call it Chinese, and Americans will lap it up.  Culinary mythology holds that that's how Americanized Chinese food got its start - Chinese immigrants, prevented from most jobs due to prejudice, opened up restaurants to cater to hungry miners and laborers and such, and developed sweeter, meatier dishes unknown in China but nonetheless exotic enough to seem exciting to the emerging middle class.

My own mother used to make something akin to egg foo young, which consisted of whatever happened to be lying in the bottom of the crisper drawer, scrambled with eggs, and served with a gelatinous sauce made from soy sauce and corn starch. Yum!

My crack Googling skills have also revealed several casserole recipes in the same vein as this one, which seemed to be popular at Church potlucks during the 60's and 70's.  As you'll see in the video, this one's a winner, so feel free to use or adapt to your heart's content!

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. frozen peas, thawed
2 c. finely sliced celery
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1 med. onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. evaporated milk (opt.)
1/8 tsp. each pepper and salt
2 c. crumbed potato chips (opt.)

Fry ground beef until brown; place in 2-quart casserole. Place a layer of peas and a layer of celery on top. Mix soup, onion, evaporated milk, pepper and salt. Pour mixture on top of previous layers; top with potato chips. Bake in 375-degree oven for 55 minutes. Serve with soy sauce if desired. Serves 8.

I followed the directions to the letter. It seemed to be done well before 55 minutes was up, so you probably won't need to cook it so long. It does get awfully dried out, I'm wondering in hindsight if the  condensed soup should have been thinned with milk before pouring on top?  Also, there's not nearly enough salt, even with the potato chip topping. So add liberally, or follow the suggestion to serve with soy sauce.

Dr. Husband loved it, as you'll see:

Our Rating: One Screaming Husband!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)
Oh and Hey!
Coming soon: The Twelve Days of Kitschmas! Twelve Recipes in Twelve Days, plus twelve songs from me and Dr. Husband!  You can send recipe ideas AND song requests by commenting below, or send it right to me at the Historic Test Kitchen by December 5, and earn yourself a big fat mention here on the blog! And really, what could be better than that?

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