So, after our recent visit to the Natick Community Organic Farm, we found ourselves with some amazing pork breakfast sausage that we just had to do something with! (What a tough life!) A comforting casserole sounded good to me, so I did some research and found this incredible recipe for sausage and rice casserole by Julia’s Simply Southern. I learned that the type of casserole I was looking for is actually known as “rice dressing” in the South. 

I followed Julia’s advice and used the recommended Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom soups in the casserole. (As she wrote: “Creamed soups are an essential part of many casserole recipes and keep it moist and add flavor.”) But, I did make some modifications to make this recipe (slightly) healthier and more energy efficient! I chose to use brown rice (Jasmati brown rice—an amazing combination of jasmine and basmati rice!) instead of white rice in this dish. And I decided to precook the rice, which ensured that the brown rice would fully cook and also allowed me to halve the baking time, shaving off about 45 minutes of oven time. Since ovens are one of the most “power-hungry” home appliances, it’s always good to find ways to reduce your baking times!

The final product was such a success that I didn’t have time to take a picture before the casserole disappeared! I think that was a good use of our delicious, locally produced pork breakfast sausage!

 

Pork Sausage Casserole (modified from Julia’s Simply Southern)

Ingredients

1 lb pork breakfast sausage (we used mild)

Nonstick spray (to grease the casserole dish)

10.5 oz can of Cream of Mushroom soup

10.5 oz can of Cream of Chicken soup

1 white onion, diced

1/2 c celery, diced

1 c brown rice (we used Jasmati), already cooked (making about 4 cups cooked rice)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 c extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a rectangle baking dish. Cook the breakfast sausage in a skillet, crumble, and drain well. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients together. NOTE: Do not dilute the creamed soups. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes until bubbling and hot, gently turning once.