I’m the first to admit that casseroles are not my strength. I didn’t grow up eating casseroles because my mom’s cooking is grounded in Taiwanese techniques and flavors. Because casseroles don’t really bring back childhood memories, they don’t pop into my mind when I’m looking for new recipes. But, I do love the idea of casseroles, especially in the winter when the warmth of the oven carries the aroma some delicious home cooked goodness throughout the house. When I saw that this week’s #SundaySupper theme was Captivating Casseroles hosted by Alice of A Mama, Baby, and Shar-pei in the Kitchen, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to come up with a casserole recipe to share with the group.
My first task was some research. Technically, I wasn’t even sure what qualified as a casserole. When I think of a casserole, I usually envision something pasta-based, creamy, cheesy, and cozy. Did it have to be made in one pot? Did it have to go in the oven? What is a casserole really? According to Wikipedia, the name casserole, comes from the French word, casse, referring to the deep dish in which casseroles are made–and the actual food cooked in the vessel. In an article for NPR, Howard Yoon, states that American casseroles are usually filled with a protein, cut veggies, a starch, and held together by a creamy binder. So what separates a stew from a casserole, I wondered? Well, stews are usually braised and cooked covered with direct heat coming from the stovetop, whereas casseroles are cooked in the oven with indirect heat circulating around the vessel. Huh. Ok, so oven required, but crunchy topping optional.
After my initial research, I started looking to some other casserole recipes for inspiration. I was tempted to make my standard mac n’ cheese recipe, throw it into the oven, and call it a day (and a delicious one at that!). But, in the back of my mind I knew I had these two small heads of cauliflower sitting in the fridge. I’d originally purchased the cauliflower to try out a cauliflower pizza crust recipe, but a few too many glasses of red wine had gotten in the way of that idea. So, after stumbling across a cauliflower mac n’ cheese recipe, I was inspired to casserole-ize it! The result? This creamy, cheesy, cauliflower and sausage casserole, perfect for Sunday Supper.
- 2 small or 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2-3 fresh sausages, in casings and sliced (I used marguez, but Italian, or turkey sausage will work)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (I used skim, but you can use whatever your preference)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower florets, and cook for 5 minutes. The cauliflower will still be slightly crisp, not fork tender.
- Drain the cauliflower well, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the cauliflower in the casserole dish. (This recipe will work in deep and shallow vessels).
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, cook the sausages until they are browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Add the browned sausages to the casserole with the cauliflower.
- In the same medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, the onions should start becoming translucent.
- Create a small hot spot by moving the onions and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the butter and flour.
- With a wooden spoon mix the butter and flour to create a roux.
- After about 1-2 minutes, turn the heat down to medium low. Lift the saucepan off of the heat and pour the milk into the saucepan off of the heat in one steady stream.
- Return the pan back to the heat and whisk together the milk, roux, garlic and onions. Continue simmering the milk mixture until the milk begins to thicken, whisking steadily to break up any clumps and to prevent scorching the milk.
- Once the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, lift the pan off of the heat again, and add the cheese.
- Return the pan to low heat, ad stir in the cheese to melt.
- Add the paprika, salt, and pepper and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth (there will be the pieces of onion and garlic, but the cheese should melt smoothly)
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and sausages, and gently stir everything in the casserole to evenly coat all of the florets and sausages with the sauce.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden, the sauce is bubbly, and the cauliflower is fork tender.
- Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes after it is out of the oven, then serve.
Looking for more delicious casseroles? Check out these delicious creations from the #SundaySupper family!
Captivating Breakfast Casseroles
- Boozy Baked French Toast from Brunch with Joy
- Orange & Date Wife Saver Breakfast Casserole from A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen
- Spinach, Sausage and Polenta Breakfast Casserole from The Redhead Baker
Appetizing Casserole Sides
- Baked Cauli-Tots Casserole from Cupcake and Kale Chips
- Savory Sweet Potato and Sausage Bread Pudding from Nik Snacks
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Casserole from Take A Bite Out of Boca
Main Event Casseroles
- Artichoke and Spinach Macaroni and Cheese Casserole from Ruffles & Truffles
- Baked Penne with Roasted Cauliflower and Italian Sausage from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Bison Meatloaf Casserole from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Cheesy Chicken Corkscrew Casserole from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Cheesy, Creamy, Cauliflower and Sausage Casserole from Eating In Instead
- Chicken Enchiladas from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake from Alida’s Kitchen
- Chicken Ramen Mini Casseroles from The Ninja Baker
- Chicken with Whole Grains Casserole from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chinese Noodle Casserole from Momma’s Meals
- Crab Casserole for Two from Magnolia Days
- Homemade Poppy Seed Chicken from Food Done Light
- Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- King Ranch Casserole from The Texan New Yorker
- King Ranch Mac and Cheese from The Weekend Gourmet
- Baked Ziti with Meatballs from Curious Cuisiniere
- Mexican Lasagna from MealDiva
- Mom’s Taco Casserole from Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Moroccan Polenta Casserole from Pancake Warriors
- Moussaka from Nosh My Way
- Neeps & Tatties Casserole from Happy Baking Days
- Quick No Boil Tuna Pasta Bake from Mess Makes Food
- Sausage Peppers and Onion Pasta Casserole from Family Foodie
- Southwestern Spaghetti Pie from The Messy Baker
- Cheesy, Layered Italian Pasta Torta from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Stove-top Four Cheese Mac and Cheese from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Supreme Pizza Strata from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Sweet Corn and Green Chile Chicken Tamale Pie from Simply Healthy Family
- Taco Casserole from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles
- Baked Lemon Dessert from Food Lust People Love
- The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls from Pies and Plots
- Butterscotch Bread Pudding from The Foodie Army Wife
- Classic Apple Crisp from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Ultimate Deep Dish Brownies from Recipe for Perfection
- Vegan Oreo Rice Krispie Treats from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
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