Before we even get started, I know some of you are groaning at just the mention of a turkey noodle casserole. I was kind of “iffy” on this one myself. The word casserole just brings back memories of tons of noodles smothered in cream of mushroom soup with some meat to go with it, usually canned tuna in my house. YIKES! Not a good image. I know that is how things were done in those days, and people didn’t realize how much sodium and fat canned soups contained. This recipe, thank goodness, removed those images from my head and made me gain faith in casseroles.
I wasn’t the only one that showed a lack of enthusiasm for the idea of casseroles. Pretty much everyone here felt the same way. The dialog went kind of like this, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Turkey noodle casserole”….long pause…”Oh”…..longer pause….”Really?” “Yes, why?”..pause..”Oh, just wondering”. I know what they were wondering was, can I eat something else before dinner without Mom finding out and then say I am not that hungry.
Luckily we were all pleasantly surprised. Everyone liked it, including my Dad, but I felt like the sauce could be a bit thicker. Probably a throw back to the old cream of mushroom soup days, but the sauce is more of a broth really. I might try to make a roux next time and thicken it up that way. I don’t want to change the flavor, just the consistency.
This one is a keeper to me though. Fairly simple and flavorful and something I think anyone would eat, so picky eaters would be happy as well.
Turkey Noodle Casserole
1/2 pound extra wide egg noodles
1 tablespoon EVOO
3 slices bacon or turkey bacon, chopped
1 package (about 1 1/2 pounds) ground turkey breast
1 pound white mushrooms, wiped, trimmed, and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground thyme or poultry seasoning
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups Gruyère cheese, grated
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the egg noodles. When it boils, salt the water and cook the noodles al dente. Drain well and return to the pot.
Preheat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO and the bacon. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to crisp at the edges. Add the turkey and brown it, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Move the meat over to one side of the pan and add the mushrooms and onions to the opposite side. Cook the mushrooms and onions for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir the meat and veggies together. Season the mixture liberally with salt and pepper, and sprinkle in the ground thyme or poultry seasoning. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, using the wooden spoon to scrape up the pan drippings and browned bits. Stir in the stock and bring to a bubble, then stir in the cream and reduce the heat to low. Add nutmeg and stir. taste to adjust seasonings if necessary.
Preheat the broiler to high. Combine the noodles with the turkey and sauce. Grease a casserole dish with a little softened butter. Transfer the turkey-noodle mixture to the dish and top with Gruyère cheese and then bread crumbs. Place the casserole 8 to 10 inches from the broiler and brown for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crumbs are brown. Garnish the casserole with parsley.
Serve with a green tossed salad.