Come smell the aroma and taste the wonderful flavors you can get from slow-cooked casseroles. This simple cooking method makes tougher cuts of meat into hearty, delicious meals. It comes from French word meaning "saucepan", a huge deep dish cooked in the oven and at the same time used as serving dish. The word casserole also pertains to the food served in such pot or deep dish, with the cookware itself called a casserole dish or casserole pan. This dish is very easy to make, just combine the ingredients in the casserole dish, then cover and place in the oven to cook. The heat in the oven will slowly cook and releases the flavors of the ingredients. Casseroles usually need portions of meat or fish, chopped vegetables, a starchy binder such as flour, potato or pasta, and, a crunchy cheesy topping. These are chopped into similar portions to ensure they are cooked evenly. During the slow cooking, liquids are released from the ingredients (meats and vegetables) and more liquid like stock, wine, beer, or vegetable juice may be added.
Many are confused between casseroles and stews, using them interchangeably. Stew cooking is when heat is fired at the bottom of the pot over a fire or on a stove, whereas casserole cooking is done in an oven to bake where heat surrounds the cooking vessel. Most recipes required the best dish size, but a helpful tip is to fill up the dish with about three-quarters of ingredients and stock at the start of the cooking process. Here are loads of hearty casserole dishes to comfort you and your loved ones during the colder months.