Green peas, better known in the South as English peas, have never been one of my favorite vegetables. However, over 30 years ago I was given a recipe for an English Pea Casserole that treats my tastebuds in a special way. Combined with water chestnuts for a crunch and mushroom soup for a creamy, delightful flavor, English peas can be turned into a tasty casserole.
Another vegetable that many people refuse to eat is broccoli. Cheese is the ideal ingredient for changing broccoli from a "don't like" to a favorite. Creative cooks have added their own special touch to casseroles with the use of creamed soups like chicken, celery, mushroom, and shrimp. I especially like the newer cream of chicken with herbs and cream of mushroom with roasted garlic.
Frozen, chopped broccoli is called for in my version of broccoli casserole. When I first made the casserole, I thought it was necessary to cook the broccoli "according to package directions" before adding it to the other ingredients. I later discovered that this step was unnecessary. After all, the broccoli cooks in the casserole for 35 to 40 minutes, which is plenty of cooking time.
Both of the following vegetable casseroles go well with chicken, turkey, ham, beef roast and even barbecue. If preferred, you could even add chopped cooked meat. Ham would be a good addition to the English Pea Casserole, and chicken or turkey would be my choice for the broccoli casserole.
ENGLISH PEA CASSEROLE
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 cans (about 4 cups) English peas, drained
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 tablespoon chopped pimientos
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fine Ritz cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a skillet. Add the onions, green pepper and celery. Cook until tender but not browned. Remove from heat. Stir in drained peas, water chestnuts and pimientos. Mix well. Arrange layers of the vegetable mixture and the soup in a buttered casserole dish. Combine the cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix well. Sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can creamy chicken mushroom soup
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter a casserole dish. Combine the broccoli, soup, eggs, cheese, mayonnaise and onion. Mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Combine the bread crumbs and the melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the vegetable mixture is bubbly and the crumb topping is delicately browned.