1 c. chopped onion
1 small sweet red pepper or 1 pimento, chopped
1/4 c. butter
2 (15 oz) cans whole asparagus, drained, reserving liquid from one of the cans of asparagus
1 large can of English peas, drained
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled, and sliced
1 stick butter
1/2 c. self rising flour
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 Tbsp. white wine
Just a wee bit of freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. half and half
Salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 small bag of slivered almonds
1 pimento chopped
4 to 6 slices of good bakery bread
6 Tbps. butter or margarine, melted
2 c. shredded New York Sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a large casserole dish.
Cook eggs until hard boiled. Peel and slice. Set aside.
Grate cheese, set aside.
Chop onion and red pepper. Saute in butter until clear and tender. Set aside.
Drain asparagus, reserving the liquid. Chop off bottom ¼ of asparagus spears and chop the remaining part of the spears into thirds. Set aside.
Drain English peas, discard liquid. Set aside.
Process your bread in blender or food processor until finely ground. Mix with melted butter . Set aside.
In medium saucepan, melt butter, add flour and cook for a few minutes on low heat to develop flavor and form a paste without getting any brown color on it. Add softened cream cheese, whisk as you cook on medium low until cheese is incorporated, adding half and half as needed. Add any remaining half and half. Add reserved liquid from asparagus. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Grate nutmeg, just a few good grates into the mixture. Add paprika. Whisk to combine. Add your sauted onions and red pepper (or pimento). Add your white wine, whisk and cook 2 more minutes. (If at this point the sauce doesn't look thick enough, make a cornstarch slurry and add it little by little to thicken your sauce.)
Into your buttered casserole dish , place a layer of chopped asparagus. Pour on a thin layer of sauce. Add a layer of sliced hard boiled eggs. Add a thin layer of English peas. Sprinkle on a few slivered almonds. Repeat these layers two more times. Top with with grated cheddar cheese. Sprinkle top with your buttered bread crumbs.
Place in preheated oven 350 F. for 30 minutes or until slightly bubbly.
We like the thick top cheese layer. If you had rather have a thin layer of the grated cheese, just use less.
I vary this recipe from time to time. I will use Monterey Jack cheese along with grated Parmesan in place of the cream cheese. We like the casserole both ways. When I sub these other two cheeses for the cream cheese, I use 2 cups (8 oz.) Monterey Jack cheese and 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan.
Once this casserole is completely assembled, you may cover it and place in the fridge. When ready to bake, remove from fridge, let come to room temperature then bake for 30 minutes.
When you don't have time or maybe the ingredients on hand to make the recipe above, here is a very easy, but still very delicious recipe, a mini version of the above recipe.
Easy Asparagus English Pea Casserole
1 (8 oz pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 can evaporated milk
1 can whole asparagus
2 can English peas
freshly grated nutmeg.
Hard boil your three eggs. Large chop or slice them them. Set aside.
In saucepan, over medium low heat, melt butter. Add 1/2 c. four and whisk to combine. Let cook for just a minute or so, getting rid of the raw flour taste. Pinch off pieces of your cream cheese and add to butter-flour mixture. Add just a little of your milk and whisk as cream cheese melts into your mixture. Your sauce will be very thick. Add remaining milk, whisking to combine. Add the liquid from your can of Asparagus and the liquid from your cans of English peas. Whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper and cook just a few minutes, whisking until your sauce is smooth, thick and creamy.
Remove sauce from heat.
Chop of the the lower third of your asparagus stems and discard them. Chop the remaining asparagus and place in a large casserole dish. Add you English peas and chopped or slice boiled eggs. Pour your sauce in and mix with wooden spoon to combine.
Grate just a little nutmeg over your mixture. Stir to combine.
You don't need lots of nutmeg, just a nice sprinkling. Freshly grated nutmeg goes a long way but gives you a wonderful hint of the flavor.
Place casserole in a 350 F oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes until nice and bubbly.