“Southern Beef and Noodle Casserole”
from James McNair’s Beef Cookbook, Chronicle Books, 1989 –
A Morris Family favorite, brought as a gift to many friends over the years with a new baby in the house!
6 oz dried egg noodles
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
ground white pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup finely chopped red or green sweet pepper
1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground round or other lean tender beef
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
3 tablespoons top-quality chili powder
freshly ground black pepper
ground cayenne pepper
2 cups homemade tomato sauce, or 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups homemade creamed corn, or 1 17 oz can cream-style corn
1 cup (about 3 oz) freshly grated cheddar cheese
In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water to halt cooking and help keep the strands separated. Reserve.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, blend well, and cook, stirring, until bubbly, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk n the milk with a wire whisk. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and white pepper, and reserve.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sweet pepper and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in the ground beef and mushrooms and sauté just until the meat loses its raw meat color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and black and cayenne peppers.
Butter a 2 1/2 quart oven proof casserole dish. Arrange about half of the noodles in the casserole, cover with about half of the meat mixture, half of the tomato sauce, and half of the corn. Add the remaining noodles, meant, tomato sauce, and corn in the same order. Cover the top with the reserved white sauce and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until bubbly, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.