Sunday, February 20, 2011
This Croque-Madame Casserole was a hit at our Sunday brunch a couple of weeks ago. You may be familiar with the Croque Monsieur(the French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) and the Croque Madame (the Croque Monsieur served with a fried or poached egg on top). Well, leave it to Paula Deen to find a way to make this French sandwich into a casserole! I found this recipe in my copy of The Deen Family Cookbook (seen in my left sidebar).
Certainly not on any list of healthy foods, I'd be willing to diet all week for a slice of this! My husband and I loved it. My kindergartner ate about half of her serving, exclaiming how good it tasted. But halfway through she stopped eating abruptly and asked, "Does this have mustard in it? " Before I could answer, she went on. "Yes. Yes it does have mustard. I definitely taste mustard. YUCK! Mustard. I am NOT eating this." As my oldest went on complaining I noticed as her little sister quietly pushed her plate away as a sign of solidarity. Oh well, more for me!
If your children (or you) are not a fan of mustard, just leave it out. But definitely make this!
As with many of Ms. Deen's recipes, we begin with butter. If you have a problem with the amount of butter used in this recipe, I'd like to quote the Queen of Southern Cooking here: "I'm your cook, not your doctor!"
Anyway, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet to make the bechamel sauce. From The Deen Family Cookbook: Bechamel sauce- That's just French for plain ol' white sauce.
Cook the butter until it bubbles.
Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
Slowly whisk in 2-1/2 cups of milk and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until thick and bubbling.
Pour a thin layer of the sauce into a greased baking dish.
Cover with 5-6 slices of bread.
Top with half of the ham.
And half of the cheese.
The recipe called for Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is an excellent melting cheese (ideal for fondues) with a taste that is distinctive but not overpowering. It takes it's name from the town of Gruyères in Switzerland. It IS a bit pricey. I think that I paid around $15 for this bag of shredded fondue blend cheese at my local grocery. If you don't want to pay the price, you could always substitute your favorite Swiss cheese instead.
Repeat the layers of bread, ham, and cheese, ending with the sauce.
Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven and cut into 6 equal pieces.
Fry eggs in a skillet heated with the remaining butter.
Plate the slices of casserole and top each with a fried egg.
Time to dig in! I served mine with an Artisanal Blend of salad greens, which was added a nice crisp, refreshing taste in between bites of this rich, delicious casserole.
Here's the recipe:
Croque-Madame Casserole from Paula Deen's Deen Family Cookbook
Prep Time:20 min
Cook Time:40 min
•6 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus 2 tablespoons for eggs
•1/4 cup all-purpose flour
•2 cups milk
•2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
•3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
•1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for seasoning
•1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
•10 to 12 slices white bread
•3/4 pound deli ham
•1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Gruyere, reserve some for top of casserole
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over low heat until bubbling. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thick and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes more. Whisk in the mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Pour a thin layer of the sauce into the prepared baking dish and cover it with 5 or 6 slices of the bread, then slices of the ham and an even layer of the Gruyere. Repeat the layers once more, ending with a third layer of sauce to cover all. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cut into 6 equal pieces.
Working in 2 batches, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crack 3 eggs into the skillet and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the whites are nearly set, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the eggs and continue cooking until the whites are completely set, about 1 minute more. You're going to top each portion of the casserole with a fried egg. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon butter. Top with Gruyere and it in the oven for a few minutes until cheese melts.
And now for the meal plan...this week I'm only trying one new recipe, "Crafty Lasagna". The rest of the meals featured in the plan below have already been posted on Krista's Kitchen. Just click the links to see the posts with step by step instructions.
Monday February 21st
Beef and Barley Soup
Tuesday February 22nd
Spicy Tuna Linguine
Wednesday February 23rd
Thursday February 24th
Friday February 25th
Make Your Own Pizza Night
Saturday February 26th
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with Mini Focaccias
Sunday February 27th
Chili Cheese Dogs
4 heads garlic
pizza toppings of choice: mushrooms, onion, peppers
3 lbs. plum tomatoes
3-4 cups cooked beef roast
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
12 oz. canned tuna packed in water
pizza toppings: pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham
shredded cheese for pizza
1 (11 oz.) tube breadsticks
quick cooking barley
red pepper flakes
9 oz. dry linguine
quick rise yeast
all purpose flour
hot dog buns
64 oz. beef broth
3 cans diced tomatoes
46 oz. chicken broth
3- 6 oz. cans tomato paste
12 oz. evaporated milk