Feels like it’s been an age since my last Mofo post! I did plan to do some cooking… but a weekend at work, followed by drinks with my new workmates left me doing very little cooking at all. I made sure to get busy in the kitchen today, and I’ve come up with another delicious comfort dish that will be sure to make many appearances over the winter months.
I’ve been eyeing up recipes for hash brown casseroles for a while now. There were a few problems with me cooking this during Mofo. The first, is that unfortunately hash browns are not a seasonal food. Secondly, the recipes were so full of fatty sour creams, tinned non vegan soups, butter and cheese…not particularly the healthiest ingredients to cram into one dish.
I pushed the idea to the back of my mind for a while, just waiting for a solution that would exclude a lot of the fat without losing flavour and incorporate something seasonal that would really have an impact on the dish. I popped to the shops for some recipe inspiration today and came across tins of creamed corn. I dunno why, but I had the idea that we didn’t do this stuff in the UK, that it was an American thing. I excitedly put a few tins in my basket and then it hit me…sweetcorn is seasonal, and creamed corn must surely be a similar consistency to a cream of mushroom soup. That was one replacement out of the way, all I had to do was work on pretty much everything else..
I decided to skip the butter and excess oils altogether and thought I’d try replacing the sour cream with some plain soya yogurt that’s been sitting in my fridge for the last week or so. Cheese I could replace with nutritional yeast, but after finding some Cheezly for 25p today, I thought a little bit of decadence was in order.
The substitutions worked a treat. I have no idea if this tastes like an authentic hash brown casserole, but I do know it tastes delicious.
Sweetcorn and Chick’n Hash Brown Casserole
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1-2 tsp minced garlic
- 400g hash browns, thawed and chopped into bitesize pieces
- 1 can creamed corn
- 200g plain soya yogurt
- 1/2 up soya milk
- 1 packet of chick’n pieces
- 1/2 cup veggie stock with a few splashes of liquid smoke
- 2 cups of vegan cheeze, grated
- sprinkling of nutritional yeast and polenta for your topping
- salt and pepper
- mixed herbs
- Preheat the oven to 180C. If your hash browns haven’t thawed in time, just pop them into the oven for 5 minutes or so, until soft enough to chop.
- Heat up a tiny bit of oil in a frying pan and fry up the leeks and onions until golden, add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
- In a small bowl, put in the hot stock, liquid smoke and chick’n pieces. Leave to marinade for a while. (you can skip this part if you’re pushed for time, I just wanted a little smokiness in the dish)
- In a large bowl mix together the cooked leeks/onions, creamed corn, yogurt, soya milk, hash browns and half of the cheeze. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chick’n pieces before pouring the whole lot into a large oven proof dish.
- Sprinkle on nutritional yeast, polenta and mixed herbs for a nice crispy topping.
- Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so.
- Top with the rest of the cheeze and bake for a further 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 as a main, 6 as a generous side dish
Cannot say in words how good this was! It was so rich and creamy, you wouldn’t know it was missing a lot of fat. I think shop bought hash browns could easily be replaced with cubes of fried potato, as they would have a bit more bite to them. The hash browns did sort of just blend into the sauce but the chick’n bits gave the dish enough substance.
I served mine with some green beans, because I felt I needed a bit more green on my plate, but it is pretty much a meal in itself.