Post #531 Mock Baloney Casserole

June 14, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was watching something on TV recently and they mentioned fried baloney sandwiches.  I had to grin; I used to love those things!  Fry up a piece of baloney; watch it bubble up in the middle; put it on a piece of bread with some mustard; roll it all up and jam it into your mouth.  Perfect kid food, perfect summer food.  I wouldn’t do that now unless I was feeding a kid in the summer.  To be honest, I haven’t eaten a piece of baloney in decades.

But it made me think of baloney which is not usually on my radar.  When these things happen, I usually end up in my mom’s kitchen of my memory and remembering a dish of one kind or another.  Sometimes, I share the memories with Partner/Spouse to see if his mom made the same things.  Usually she did, so it has to be a generational thing.  What I remembered this time was a casserole my mom used to make.  His didn’t so it was probably more a regional thing.

Mom would take several pieces of baloney and dice it up.  She would then fry it in butter and add onions.  When it was ready, she’d add a big can of pork and beans.  She’d add a can of mixed vegetables, pour the heated mixture into a baking dish and cover it with cheese.  Then she’d bake it for what felt like forever, until the cheese was melted and crusty and golden brown.  She’d give that to us for lunch on cold and rainy days.  We thought it was wonderful, but we were only 5, 6, and 9.

I supposed we grew out of it.  Or maybe she did.  But it was always there, in the confines of disused synapse waiting for the day when it could fire up and remind me.  Which it did.

The odd thing is, I’ve made a different version of that many times.

So, here it is, my Mock Baloney Casserole.

Heat the oven to 375.  While that’s heating, cube about a pound to a pound and a half of ham.  The pieces can be as big or small as you like.  Chop up half a large onion, or a whole small onion, to get about a half cup to a cup.  It’s entirely up to you.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and fry the onions until they start to sweat.  Add a half tsp crushed garlic, a pinch of thyme, and a scrape of nutmeg.  Stir it around then add the ham.  Brown the ham on all sides if possible.  When it brown and crispy, add one can each of cannelloni beans (drained), Ranch style beans, and black beans.  Add the barest pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicier.  Let it heat to bubbling on the edges while stirring then pour into a treated baking dish.  Spread a half cup to a cup of grate cheese of your favorite kind over the top.  Cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  I serve it as a side usually, but I’ve also added fresh veggies like corn, asparagus, or broccoli to it and made it the main course.

What got me to giggling over this was the fact that I hate baloney now.  And in my subconscious, I was already editing the recipe to leave out the things I don’t like, and substitute the things I do.  And my subconscious even added things to make it seem healthier.

It just occurred to me that I haven’t made this in a long time.  Partner/Spouse doesn’t care much for beans or cheese.  But if I made this, and rolled it into a flour tortilla I could probably slip it by him.  And I wonder how it would be with some seen garnish on top of the cheese, say sesame or sunflower?

Or some other protein instead of ham?

Anyway,

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