I think we’re probably all in the mode of using what is in our pantries and fridges at this point. It reminded me of a post I wrote awhile back and never did publish. The few pictures I did take weren’t very “pretty” so I was hesitant to make the recipe public. But my attempt at using up an unusual leftover led to really tasty results.
I’m so annoyed with myself! I threw together a casserole last night and didn’t take procedural pictures. I didn’t think it would be blog worthy, and boy was I wrong! Both my P.S. and myself loved it so much we did the “mmm” thing through the meal. We were both amazed I came up with a casserole that was so good using a ‘Chopped’ basket of ingredients!
The basket: leftover roast turkey breast, a bag of broccoli slaw, elbow macaroni and a blooming onion. To that I added some turkey broth and made a sauce to pull it all together. Simple but so delicious!
We’d dined out at Texas Roadhouse the previous evening and ordered what they call a “cactus flower” appetizer. Other places call it a blooming onion. It’s a huge sliced up onion that is dipped in a seasoned batter and deep fried. Served with a thousand island type dip, it’s pretty good. But we barely ate a quarter of the onion, it’s so huge.
We never take the leftover onion home with us but for some reason I did this time. When I opened the fridge door to contemplate what to make for supper the next evening I saw the onion and decided to be creative. Time for a ‘Chopped’ home version! I certainly had a lot of ingredients to choose from. I did eventually put a bag of spinach back in the fridge for another time.
I started a pot of water to boil, adding salt. I had a lot of angel hair pasta and elbow macaroni. I decided on the macaroni.
Next I pulled out my largest skillet and added 4 tablespoons of butter. I was going to make a roux and make sauce out of turkey broth. Then I realized I should stir fry the bag of broccoli slaw first. Oh well, they would be nice and buttery. The slaw also contained shredded cabbage and carrots to make it colorful. I added the broccoli slaw mix to the skillet and sautéed it in the butter.
After about 10 minutes the slaw was softened a bit. I added the turkey breast I’d diced up and let it heat through another 2-3 minutes. I salted the mixture well.
By then the pasta was al dente. I drained the pasta and returned it to the pot I added the skillet of broccoli and turkey and stirred well.
Putting another 4 tablespoons of butter into the again empty skillet, I let it melt then added 4 tablespoons of flour. I stirred the roux for several minutes then slowly added a 32 ounce carton of Kitchen Basics turkey broth. I stirred until the sauce was smooth then let it simmer for about 5 minutes. That’s good to let the raw flour taste cook out.
I poured the sauce into the pot with the rest of the ingredients and stirred well. Then here’s where I took my chance at making an unpalatable mess: I chopped up the batter covered onion pieces into smaller pieces (about 1/2”) and added 3/4 of them to my casserole.
I stirred the pot gently then poured the casserole into a 9×13-in baking dish I’d sprayed with cooking spray. I scattered the remaining onion pieces over the top and slid the pan into my preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
The rest is history. We couldn’t believe how tasty this casserole was! I will say Texas Roadhouse seasons their onion’s batter very well. At other restaurants I’ve been disappointed at the blandness of the coating. But this onion and its coating were the star of the flavor profile. The broccoli slaw and roast turkey were background compliments of the dish.
So if you’re looking for a way to repurpose a blooming onion, I highly suggest you try this casserole. You could use chicken or other meats or tuna even. You could use other vegetables as well. You might want to adjust the broth flavor accordingly. It’s the onion that is going to steal the show anyway!
Blooming Onion Hotdish
A super way to use up that deep fried appetizer you dragged home!
- 16 oz box pasta of choice; prepared al dente
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups raw or frozen vegetables of choice
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups diced roasted turkey (chicken, ham, etc)
- 4 tablespoons butter (yes again!)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 32 oz turkey broth (or broth of choice)
- chopped Blooming Onion
Melt 4 tablespoons butter and sauté vegetables until almost fork tender. We don’t want them limp or soft. Add diced turkey and simmer for a few minutes until heated through.
When pasta is al dente, drain and return to pot. Add sautéed vegetables and diced turkey.
In now empty skillet, melt butter and cook flour for several minutes, until slightly browned. Add broth and stir until smooth. Let simmer for several minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
Pour broth into pot and stir well. Add 3/4 of the chopped blooming onion and stir gently. Spread in greased 9×13-in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining chopped onion over the top.
Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
Note: Excellent even reheated the next day!