Muddy’s Hot Brown Casserole: Tweaking Preconceived Notions
“All change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out the changes that understanding creates in your heart.” ~ Tim Keller
. . . Because Cooking can be so much more than just cooking. . . .
I adore the Louisville Hot Brown Sandwich. For a long time, I rarely ever made it. Not because the recipe was difficult, but because I believed that it must be served it on individual, stainless-steel Hot Brown plates in order to oven-broil until the sauce puffed up just a bit and turned a hint of golden brown.
Being a Louisville girl, I had to do it more right, than, say, someone not from Louisville. . . right. . . ? But what newlywed can afford little stainless-steel Hot Brown plates? Should I have bought them one at a time. Then “Poof,” we were a family of seven and buying them just wasn’t on top of the necessary list. Since I couldn’t afford the plates, I didn’t make the dish.
It didn’t seem . . . seemly. . . to serve it any other way. Any other way wouldn’t be authentic, genteel southern. . . the right way. Besides, it smacked of wrongness to take something with a bit of white linen grandeur served with a bit of horse racing kick to it. . . and put it in an everyday ordinary casserole dish, kind of like taking a Derby winner and turning it into a plough horse.
Preconceived Notions of how things should be done are sometimes the biggest self-imposed Stop Signs preventing everyday ordinary experiences of goodness.
An it’s-just-not-done-that-way kind of mentality can sometimes make it hard for the good things to grow in life – good things like God-designed skill sets needed to build God-designed dreams, or strong, comfortable-in-their-God-designed-skin kids, life-long love, a life-changing relationship with the Father who creates and the Savior who saves.
Sometimes, I have learned, I need to let go of preconceived notions of how I think things should be – and just do them in a way that enables me to do them.
Tradition and innovation are not easy friends.
Maybe I don’t always make homemade Alfredo sauce over pasta. Maybe I buy the pre-made sauce and add garlic and parmesan, while sauteing the chicken in olive oil and Italian seasoning.
My oldest, he came home from college one day, walked through the door, saying, “We’re not like other people, Mom.”
I answered somewhat cheekily, “We’re called to be a peculiar people” (referencing 1 Peter 2:9).
I don’t think that’s what he meant. He never elaborated. Maybe that is something we could have sat long and talked much about – but, probably, it’s just that our family, my husband, me, five sons, living in a town where our extended family was hours away – preconceived notions of what some traditions ought to be didn’t allow our ideas of life, faith, love and family to thrive, so we made adjustments to our life recipe for the outcome our hearts sought.
Maybe I don’t make homemade bread. Maybe I buy biscuits in a tin, brush them with butter mixed with pressed garlic and salt, and when they come out of the oven, brush them again.
Maybe we don’t always sit down around the kitchen table for dinner because there’s a college student, a high school student and one who works still living at home – and maybe we sit more often at the counter some evenings and have individual conversations about big and little things. Sometimes we’re all at the counter, some finishing up, some coming in, some in the middle – and the conversations intertwine in an oddly real, sweet, out-of-the box meaningful way that is soul food in itself – all because I let go of Preconceived Notions of how I once thought things should be done – and in order for an environment to be created that makes room for God with us, in us, around us, in the good and the bad, the wins and the losses, the overcoming and the misses, the hard challenges and the celebrations.
I’m not angling for a t.v. show, though I’m into “good things” and “best dishes” for my family. I’m angling to make those who sit at my kitchen counter or table content, satisfied, comforted, filled with stuff good for the body with side dishes of soul food – both love and truth, the sweet and savory, the easy and the hard, the veggies and the meat – and I want them to come back for more. . . even when their mail doesn’t come anymore to this address.
Yes, after 36 years of marriage, almost 33 years of parenting, I am still weeding out preconceived notions of how to do things – or maybe they’re inappropriate expectations of how things ought to be done – and making changes for better-hearted, God-designed living.
So I finally gave up on the most authentic way to serve a Hot Brown Sandwich – and turned it into a casserole – much to my sons’ delight! I hope it gives you an opportunity to sit long and talk much with those God gives you to sit at your table or you kitchen counter!
“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”
~ John Henry Newman
Muddy’s Hot Brown Casserole
The crux of the sandwich is the sauce, which, oddly enough, is a combination of two sauces
Sauce One or Bechamel
½ cup butter or margarine
½ medium-sized sliced onion, minced
1/3 cup flour
3 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of red pepper
A couple of sprigs of parsley if you have it, but parsley isn’t a must
A dash of nutmeg
Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add onions and cook slowly until a light brown, about 15-20 minutes. Add flour and blend until the flour makes a smooth paste(you will see the browned onion minces in the paste). Add milk and other seasonings and cook 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly and briskly at first until the sauce of thick and smooth. When it is thick and smooth. Some recommend straining the sauce. I never have.
Sauce Two or Mornay
2 cups of sauce one
2 egg yolks
½ c. grated parmesan cheese (more doesn’t hurt)
1 tablespoon butter
8 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream Whipped
Combine egg yolks with a 1/2 cup of room temperature Sauce One. When combined, add to the rest of Sauce one. Heat, stirring constantly and remove from stove when starts to bubble. When hot and thick add cheese and the butter. The sauce must not boil or it will curdle.
Then for every ½ C. sauce that is to be used for the sandwich, fold in 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. For this it would be 8 tablespoons whipped cream. The cream gives a lift to the browning-off under the broiler.
To assemble, cut the crusts office 2 slices of bread for each sandwich. Toast the, lining with toast either a casserole dish or a cookie pan (I use a 15X21 when we have a house full to feed) On top of the toast, layer a slice of country ham topped with a layer of chicken. Enshroud with a goodly portion of the sauce. Place in a very hot oven or under the broiler until the sauce slightly puffed with a little bronze to the top, but not too bronze. Top each piece of toast with a half a slice of cooked bacon and parsley.
Bread (one long loaf of white bread)
(20 slices of bread for a 15X21 cookie pan)
Bacon (a half a slice for every piece of toast)
1 lb. sliced turkey or chicken
1 lb. ham or country ham
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups hot milk
½ cup butter + 2 tablespoons (or 10 tablespoons total)
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of red pepper
A couple of sprigs of parsley
½ medium-sized sliced onion, minced
Linking with these blogs this week:
Trekking Through – http://www.trekkingthru.com/
http://www.richfaithrising.com/ Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/ Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://www.messymarriage.com/ Messy Marriage
http://holleygerth.com/ Coffee for Your Heart
Mary Geisen/ TellingHisStory
abounding Grace/Graceful Tuesday/
Creativity with Art
Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
I’ve never heard of this dish before, but I confess that it sounds like a heart attack on a plate ;)! Kind of like the lava cake I make on really special occasions–you know it’s the best ever, but you know you can’t eat it daily! I love the point you make, though. It’s not about letting traditions constrain us, it’s about trying old things in different ways. Sometimes, the results will surprise us!
This: ” after 36 years of marriage, almost 33 years of parenting, I am still weeding out preconceived notions of how to do things – or maybe they’re inappropriate expectations of how things ought to be done – and making changes for better-hearted, God-designed living.” I am impressed with all the cooking you do and your heart 🙂
OK a recipe to add to me Muddy’s Recipes file! I adored the point of this post. I also find it interesting that I just finished a book entitled, “Some Days You Dance” by Vikki Burke, who taught me how much I needed to let go of “preconceive” and “supposed to do it this way” and also “it needs to be perfect”! I was very much a “performance based Christian! You just gave a reminder of how much God loves us!!
Oh I love that Tim Keller quote. It’s so important to continually learn and to change as we do so. Most especially in regards to our Christian lives. I had 5 teenagers in my home at one time as well. If everyone has clean socks we didn’t worry too much about whether or not they matched. And, if we were all sitting around the table together it didn’t matter too much how the food was prepared.
It took me a while to understand changing things is good and that God was in that. It liberated me from so much that needed liberating from. It’s in that change He transforms us from glory to glory. I still cannot find peace with my unmatched socks – I think maybe God has a lesson for me in that – the letting go of what cannot be helped. However – I do love it when my house is full – 5 is a special number to fill it with! Thank you so much for stopping by! Praying God’s Shalom in your week! ~ Maryleigh
Thanks for your recent visit and for sharing this lovely recipe with us. I haven’t heard of this before but then there are many fine dishes out there new to me. I think I’d like to try it if someone else fixed it. Care to invite me over? lol With just the two of us now, I limit my recipes to things that works well as left overs. This doesn’t seem like it would work. I guess I could always downsize the recipe for two. 🙂 Have a joyful and blessed day!
For just two, I would halve the sauce. Typically, they are served individually – so that’s not a problem. I’ve found the sauce is great over eggs (microwave eggs on a paper plate for about 40-60 seconds, put on a piece of toast and then top with the sauce), too, for breakfast. It keeps for about a week. If you try it, let me know how it works! Thanks so much for stopping by!
This post really spoke to me. And the recipe looks delicious!
So glad you enjoyed the story! The recipe of a favorite of my sons!