Jan here, filling in for Cate today with a not-so-healthy dish.
Because once in a while, you need to feed the soul with comfort food.
Easter is one of those times.
We're talking about Easters past today.
No. My past.
In those days, Easter meant a new Easter dress, new Easter gloves, and a new Easter hat. Super stylish!
When I was growing up, Easter dinner was always celebrated at home after church. Somehow, Mom was able to put together a big dinner on that Sunday. She was a preacher's wife, played piano, and generally kept life on a even keel on Sunday mornings, but we still had a big dinner after church.
Of course, my brother and I were no help.
Except that we always, always insisted on Cream of Asparagus Casserole for Easter dinner.
Once I grew up and tried making it myself, I was sorry that I had been so insistent as a kid. But Mom always came through. Cream of Asparagus Casserole was as much an Easter tradition as coloring eggs and a ham in the oven.
So here's the recipe for that classic dish, with apologies to those who didn't grow up on food from the 1950's. :-)
Classic Cream of Asparagus Casserole
3 cups canned (and drained) or fresh asparagus (if you use fresh, cut it into 1"-2" pieces and cook)
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup dried bread cubes, small size - seasoned are best
1 can cream of asparagus soup (or you can substitute cream of mushroom soup, or use a seasoned white sauce)
Prepare a 6 to 8 cup casserole dish by greasing it well with butter or cooking spray. (Mom used margarine, of course.)
In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together, reserving some of the dried bread cubes. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, top with the reserved bread cubes, and bake in a 325° oven for 40-45 minutes.
Or you can put it in the oven with the Easter ham while you're at church.
Okay, you might be wondering why canned asparagus is one of the items on the list. After all, that can be pretty nasty stuff, and fresh or frozen asparagus is available year around, right?
Remember that this was a long, long time ago. (Don't count the years - I'd rather be under the delusion that it wasn't really that long ago.)
Back then, you ate fresh vegetables when they were in season. You bought as many as you could handle before they spoiled, then froze or canned them. And you hoped you had enough to last until the next season.
There was an asparagus farm just about forty miles from our house, and we went there every May to stock up. We'd buy a "lug" - about twenty pounds - and take it home to freeze. That chore was usually done late at night. Cut the asparagus spears into pieces, blanch them, pack them in freezer containers, and take them across the yard to the freezer we kept in the garage.
But our family loved asparagus, and those freezer containers were usually empty by January. So this casserole was made with canned asparagus.
I'm not sure why, but my brother and I could never get enough of this casserole. Was it the asparagus? Or the creamed soup? I don't think it was the bread cubes...although I tried making this dish without them one time and it just wasn't right.
In fact, every time I try to make this, it isn't quite right.
I think it's missing the Mom Touch. I know I am.
|Mom. November 9, 1929-March 30, 2014|
Have a great Easter, everyone! And tell us: What is your favorite childhood Easter memory?
Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.
You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.