Most casseroles are miracle one pot meals that can be easily assembled, don’t require exacting measurements and are baked without too much of effort. Both of us baked veggie casseroles – each in our own way. Mandira dunked potatoes, beans and paneer in white sauce and baked until set. Lakshmi Layered Vegetable Casserole with potato, red peppers, onions and tomatoes and baked with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and cheese on top.
Recipe #1: Mandira’s Paneer, Potato and Beans in White Sauce Casserole
This was a spontaneously developed recipe by Mandira’s mom. She had eaten something similar ages back at a restaurant and decided to re-invent it in her kitchen.
- French beans -100gms
- Cottage cheese or paneer- 100gms
- Potatoes- 2 Small
- White sauce- 1 1/2 cups
- Cheese – 2 cubes grated
- Oil for Sauté
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker. Cool the potatoes and dice.
- Par boil the French beans till they are cooked just right. String and cut into 1 inch size pieces.
- Cube the paneer to a size similar to the potatoes.
- On a non stick pan, pour a few drops of oil. Sauté the potatoes and paneer pieces to make them evenly crisp on all sides. Keep these aside.
- Prepare white sauce using milk and maida. Once the sauce is ready, add the seasonings and grated cheese.
- Add the sauted potatoes, paneer and beans and mix well.
- Put this mixture into a oven proof dish and bake for about 10 mins- till the cheese melts and the top of the dish browns a little.
Ensure the following: Nothing to ensure in this recipe really- its pretty simple and straight forward. The only thing important is the consistency of the white sauce- it shouldnt be watery neither should it be too thick. It needs to be thick enough to coat the vegetables easily.
Source: Mandira’s mom.
Mandira’s Notes: This dish goes well with a hot bowl of soup and well-buttered toasts. To make this dish more interesting, you can finely chop a few flakes of garlic, slightly sauté them in little oil and add it to the white sauce and vegetables. This gives it a nice flavour.
I tried eating this dish with Tabasco. Don’t know why I thought it would go well. Let me warn you, it doesn’t go well at all!! Perhaps regular tomato ketchup will work well. Else, the dish is fine by itself.
Recipe #2: Lakshmi’s Potato, Red Peppers, Tomato and Onions Casserole
I developed this recipe while trying to conjure up an accompaniment to the ciabattas I had baked this weekend.
- Vegetables – 500 g (Potatoes, Peppers, Tomatoes or similar vegetables of your choice)
- Onions – 2 Medium
- Milk – 1/2 cup (or fresh cream/double cream for a richer version)
- Cheese – 50 g
- White breadcrumbs – 1/2 cup
- Salt and Paprika for seasoning (as per taste)
- Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
- Grease a 9 inch Baking dish with Olive Oil.
- Slice the Onions into rings. Saute the onions until translucent and set aside to cool. Slice the other vegetables into thin discs.
- Preheat an oven to 200 degrees C.
- Form layers in the baking dish with the sliced vegetables, starting with the tomatoes. Sprinkle white breadcrumbs and seasonings over each layer before proceeding to the next. Continue doing this till all the vegetables are used. End with a layer of either potatoes or tomatoes (never onions, unless you like black onions!!!).
- Pour the Milk into the baking dish. Top with the remaining bread crumbs and grated cheese.
- Bake at 200 C for 40 minutes or until the dish turns golden on top.
Serve with bread of your choice.
Lakshmi’s Notes: Oven timings may vary. Note the browning on top to know when to stop. I finished with a layer of tomatoes for a change this time. Finishing with Potatoes in a casserole is a better idea – browned potatoes taste doubly better than oven baked tomatoes IMHO.