By Astrid Tuttle Winegar
I’m sure Mrs. Maggot would be fond of this convenient, rib-sticking casserole. It would utilize many of those lovely root vegetables from her well-tended garden. She (or you) might assemble the dish in the morning or even the night before she expects company. You’d want to cover and refrigerate it overnight and take it out about 30 minutes before you do the final baking later on. You’ll also want to bake it for about 25 minutes if you make this in advance. Do hobbits have refrigerators? Probably not; but perhaps they had some sort of icebox situation for longer food storage, don’t you think?
Please follow this link to my blog for the Savory Seasoning recipe! Or, I’ll make you a batch—head over to my Etsy Shop Elegant Sufficiencies and order your own: Savory Seasoning in a Jar or (the cheaper version) Savory Seasoning in a Ziploc Bag.
“Solid Farmhouse Fare”
3 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled and cut into rather uniform 1½” chunks (Your best choices are potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, or rutabagas—try to use at least two different varieties. If you use smaller red potatoes, you don’t need to peel them.)
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon “Shire” Seasoning (see links above)
1 pound bulk pork sage-flavored sausage
About 1½ cups diced onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons dry sage (or about 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage)
14½-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ounce fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a 13″ by 9″ glass pan with cooking spray or lightly grease. Put all the root vegetables in the dish. In a small glass bowl, microwave the 1 tablespoon butter until it melts (about 10 seconds or so) and mix with ½ teaspoon “Shire” Seasoning. Pour over the vegetables and mix. Roast 35-45 minutes, until almost fork tender (total roasting time will depend on the size of the vegetables—stir a couple of times).
Meanwhile, coat a 5-quart deep skillet with cooking spray and place over high heat. Fry the sausage and onion until the meat is no longer pink. Drain and set aside (don’t bother washing the pan). In the same skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour until fully combined. Add all the remaining seasonings, broth, half-and-half, and cream. Keep heat on medium/high and whisk until sauce is thicker. Add back the meat and onions. Pour this over the vegetables, covering all. Combine the cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle all over the meat. Bake 15 minutes at 425°. Remove and let stand 5-10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 6-8.
This is known as “Doughty Hero Casserole” in my cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is currently at work on the second edition of her cookbook, which will soon be available in the usual places. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. Staff Reporter.