One of the outstanding editors with whom I have the pleasure of working is Brooke Bell. She is the editor of Taste of the South magazine (and special collector’s issues like Southern Casseroles). She brings to our readers a new look at wonderful Southern classics. I love great Southern food, and when I see the offerings in Taste, I am ready to get in my kitchen and start cooking. I asked her to guest blog today. You will love her enthusiasm for all things Southern.
We Southerners might not be able to claim casseroles as our own since cooks around the world have been making some form of them for centuries, but we sure do own the hospitality of casseroles. If a friend or loved one has a bad day, you can bet we’ll be at their doorstep in no time, casserole in hand. We keep them in the freezer at the ready for new neighbors, parents bringing newborns home from the hospital, friends who’ve just experienced a loss, and loved ones going through a tough time. That’s just what we do in the South. It’s ingrained in our being. If there was a crash-course on how to be Southern, “The Art of Casserole Delivering” would be first on the syllabus. We take care of our people with comforting casseroles.
And what would a covered-dish supper or family reunion be without several tables of ooey, gooey casseroles? They show up, in some form or another, at every social gathering or holiday. Could you seriously imagine Thanksgiving without a casserole? From sweet potato to green bean, Thanksgiving is all about casseroles.
If your standby casserole recipes aren’t scrawled on a notecard in your mother’s handwriting, they likely came from a spiral-bound church or Junior League cookbook. The ingredients might change a little here and there, but you can bet any casserole worth its weight in Ritz crackers includes chopped or pulled chicken, something creamy like a can of condensed soup or sour cream, a vegetable for some added color, lots of cheese, and layer of buttery crackers on top.
This special collection of Southern Casseroles from Taste of the South features the classics we’ve been eating for years like Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole, Baked Spaghetti, and Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, plus soon-to-be new favorites. For this issue, we took iconic Southern dishes like country captain, chicken and dumplings, shrimp and grits, gumbo, and the Kentucky hot brown and made them into casseroles. These playful recipes deliver all of the traditional flavors you expect from these dishes in your favorite 13×9-inch pan.
As you cook your way through this issue and share these recipes with your friends and family, remember casseroles are the ultimate form of comfort food. Their warm creaminess, layers of cheese, and crunchy toppings are like a warm blanket to soothe you when you need it most.
Tell us: What’s your favorite type of casserole?