Mid-July seems, in theory, like a very weird time to make a hotdish.
Wait, I should back-up for any of you who are not from Minnesota and are wondering what this strange word – hotdish – is all about. Here’s a quick tutorial:
“Hotdish” = casserole. And just so you know right up front, in Minnesota, a traditional hotdish recipe usually includes some sort of cream soup – such as cream of mushroom or cream of celery or any of the other “cream of” varieties stocked in the supermarket.
Okay, now back to July and the whole hotdish thing. My mom recently reacquainted me with a fantastic old-school turkey layered hotdish recipe so I simply had to try it out myself – even though a hotdish may seem a bit more suited for fall/winter than an 80 degree summer day.
The recipe itself was originally submitted by Joann Handahl for the Minnesota Women for Turkey cookbook, printed in 1990 by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the organization I work for. Minnesota Women for Turkey was an auxiliary group of spouses of turkey farmers who made it their cause to promote turkey to their friends, neighbors and consumers through several cookbooks and various community appearances at county fairs, school meetings and more.
Joann passed away a few years ago, but I knew both her and her husband, Don, who worked for Jennie-O, a Minnesota turkey company, until he retired. Don was a mentor to me when I first started working for Minnesota Turkey, and Joann was, in a word, delightful – so friendly and known for her fine culinary skills as well as her passion for cooking year-round with turkey. (My kind of gal!)
It’s almost embarrassing that I have never made Joann’s “Best Ever Turkey Layered Hotdish” until now!
A few tips:
- This hotdish is delicious with or without the water chestnuts, broccoli and/or mushrooms – so you can add or take out these items to your liking.
- The original recipe calls for cheese slices (and doesn’t specify what kind of cheese), but I used shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese because that’s what I had on hand.
- I used about 3/4 of a can of chicken broth, but it was a little soupy at the bottom of the pan. I think you could cut that to a max of 1/2 a can and be just fine.
- For the cubed turkey, I used Jennie-O Turkey Store Extra Lean Turkey Breast.
This recipe is a winner in our house – well, at least for Teacher Man and myself. Picky eater Joe, of course, wasn’t too interested in it. (I know, shocking.) Enjoy!
Best Ever Turkey Layered Hotdish
Serves: 8-10 people
1 package Uncle Ben’s white and wild rice (cooked according to directions)
4-6 cups cooked turkey, cubed
1/2 pound cheese (slices or shredded)
1 can water chestnuts (optional)
1 can mushrooms
1/2 can chicken broth
1 package broccoli spears, cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s Light Mayo)
1 can French fried onions
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan with margarine or spray with cooking spray.
2. In the 9×13 pan, layer the ingredients, starting with the rice, then turkey, broccoli, cheese, mushrooms and water chestnuts.
3. Pour 1/2 can of chicken broth over the layers.
4. Mix together the cream of mushroom soup and mayonnaise; spread over the top.
5. Top with French fried onions.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.