Sunday, February 6, 2011

FR: Carrot-Spinach Casserole

This week's Family Recipe is a delicious and rich Carrot-Spinach Casserole. Layers of rich green spinach, sweet carrots and onions, and a rich cheese sauce are topped with plain bread crumbs and baked until bubbly.

This was one of my grandma's go-to sides during the holidays, and after tasting all those layers together, I have to agree that the only time I'd serve this decadent side is Christmas. I was able to put this together in about an hour total, and this would be easy to assemble a day ahead and bake just before serving. If you do this, cover with aluminum foil, refrigerate, and uncover to bake.

Carrot-Spinach Casserole (Serves 6-8)
1 1/2 cups fresh carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach
3 Tbsp. margarine
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs or panko

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain well.

3. Put carrots and onions in a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Cover with water and cook until the veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Take off heat and drain any excess water.

4. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, whisking well after each one.

5. Slowly add milk, whisking well to avoid lumps. Whisk in salt.

6. Whisk constantly until thick, about 20 minutes.

7. Take off heat and whisk in cheddar cheese. Add black pepper to taste.

8. In a greased 1-quart casserole dish, layer half of the spinach, half the carrots and onions, and half the cheese sauce. Repeat layers and top with bread crumbs.

9. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly.

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