Friday, August 10, 2012

Curried Ham and Cheese Casserole

Some families love casseroles and some won't touch them with a 10 foot pole.  This is for you casserole lovers out there.  The recipe comes from an old family friend and is one of the few savory dishes where I actually like having the pineapple in it.  Those little bursts of sweetness work perfectly against the creamy cheesiness and the salty bits of ham.  If you don't like green peppers, you are welcome to use red or orange for more color.  I really appreciate this dish especially because it goes together quickly and is ready to eat soon, but I don't get to enjoy it often because I am not in the majority as a casserole lover in our house.  Ah well.  If you have everything chopped and ready, it will be just about a 30 minute meal.  Maybe 45 with chopping and gathering time added on.  ☺ 

Curried Ham and Cheese Casserole
from Mary Allen

1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
1 green pepper, chopped
1½ cups chopped celery
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup rice, uncooked

1 cup cubed cheese (I always use cheddar)
1 8oz. can pineapple tidbits

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet or pot, cook onions in butter until tender-crisp.  Add green pepper, celery, rice broth, seasonings and ham.  Bring to a boil, stir well.  Cover and bake for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, you can transfer to a 2 Qt casserole dish to bake.)  Remove from oven.  Add pineapple and cheese and toss lightly.  Serve.

(I usually toss it pretty well, but if you do it just enough to spread the cheese cubes through before they melt, then there will be nice melty pockets of cheesey goodness when you serve it up.)  ☺

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