7-30: Mixed Meat Casserole

7-30: Mixed Meat Casserole is exactly what it sounds and looks like–they’re not pulling any punches here. It’s like combination fried rice, a little bit of everything.

At least this is somewhat closer to the traditional idea of a casserole–Simply Delicious sometimes gets a little loose with what they categorize as a casserole.

The three types of meat they use here are pork, veal, and lamb, although they suggest in the TIPS that you can go with all pork if you want. I don’t eat any of those things anymore (and I never ate veal to begin with), so we’ll have to get creative for this version.

Ingredients. Instead of mixing real meat, we’re mixing fake meat. I do like to make a lot of my own “meats”, but sometimes it’s just easier to grab these frozen ones (not cheaper though). Since the point was to use three different types of meat, I feel like I’m still in the ballpark with this one. I even have three different types of vegan broth base.

Step 1 is already done for me, and like other recipes where I’ve swapped fake meat for real, we’ll have to do things in a slightly different order to accommodate different cooking methods.

I know I can’t cook this stuff like they suggest you do for the real meat–it’ll end up super mushy and with very little flavor. A lot of the key to cooking tasty things with fake meat is effectively identifying and rebuilding those flavors and textures that makes the real stuff taste so good.

So, my theory here is that their method is focused solely on actually cooking the meat (applying heat to make raw meat safe/edible), but they’re relying on the inherent qualities of the meat itself to supply any additional flavor. My plan is that I’m going to use essentially what equates to the Maillard reaction to initially flavor the fake meat pieces, and then use what’s left in the pan from that (by deglazing) to generate “meat flavor” for the rest of the dish.

After sautéing the meat pieces–you can see they’ve definitely got some additional color on them. With fake meat, you really only need to worry about heating it through–being raw is a lot less of a risk than with real stuff. These are cooking again later with the rest of the vegetables, so at this point we’re only concerned about getting the maximum flavor on the outside of the pieces.

All those broth bases mixed together to make a super mixed-meat broth.

Broth is made, meat is browned. I pulled the meat out of the pan and deglazed it only slightly to prepare some of the residual flavor for the next part.

Sliced my cabbage and tossed it in with the string beans and the deglazing liquid. They don’t tell you to cook your veggies this way either, but like I said, we’re making just a few modifications here and there.

Plus, still just one pot! Or pan, in this case.

After a quick sauté in the deglazing remnants, I poured in the multi-meat broth to start cooking the potatoes and cabbage–those still need that original cooking method.

Notice I haven’t put the meat pieces back yet–if I simmer those now, they’ll turn into mush. I’ll save them off to the side for now and let the veggies and broth do their thing.

I let it go for about 10-15 minutes (until most of the broth had absorbed/cooked off), and then mixed in the fake meat pieces for the final 5 (with no lid).

I feel like that looks DAMN close to what they made, even with my modifications.

Final bowl, which is less attractive than the pan version. Overall, it’s like I said in the beginning: exactly what it looks and sounds like. I’m not sure if using the fake meat makes it more expensive or cheaper than veal/pork/lamb, but at least you’ve got options.

Grade: B+