Laatikko or Casserole

by tableofcolors

Epiphany has traditionally been a time to eat a second Christmas dinner. Sometimes it may be a bit of a varied version but it is a good time to pull out things in the freezer that did not get eaten the first time around. Last Sunday we had asked some friends to come over for dinner. I had a couple carrot and rutabaga casseroles left in the freezer. To tell you the truth, they actually tasted better last weekend than they did at Christmas. Carrot and Rutabaga casseroles are a very traditional part of the Finnish Christmas meal. I emailed my Mom to ask if I could share her recipe since I think that she makes the best ones and she gave me permission. These casseroles are perfect in the winter as a side dish.
porkkanalaatikko
The carrot casserole above is before going into the oven. The casserole on the botton right has not been sprinkled with bread crumbs.

Carrot Casserole Porkkanalaatikko

1.5 dl/0.63 cups pearl rice
1/2 l/generous 2 cups water
1/2 l/generous 2 cups milk
1/2 kg/17 oz carrots
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 eggs (beaten)
1 dl/1/2 c fine bread crumbs
butter

Boil the water and add rice. Cook for about 7-10 minutes and add milk. Allow to simmer for another 40 minutes. A double boiler is wonderful for this stage so that the rice porridge does not burn. While the rice porridge is cooking, peel and chop the carrots. Cook them in salted water until tender. Drain the water from the carrots and purée. Add the salt, brown sugar and eggs to the carrots and stir until smooth. Add the carrot mixture to the rice porridge and mix. Pour into greased tins. Sprinkle generously with the bread crumbs and make indentations with a spoon. Cut butter into little cubes and press them into every other indentation. If you would like to save them for future use, freeze them at this stage. Bake them at 160C/325F for 1 to 2 hours(depending on the depth of your casserole tins). If your casseroles are frozen give them at least a day in the fridge to defrost before baking.

lanttulaatikko

Rutabaga casserole Lanttulaatikko

2 rutabaga
1/2 l/generous 2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1.5 dl/0.63 cups fine bread crumbs
2 dl/ 0.85 c milk
2 tbsp molasses
1 egg (beaten)
1/3 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp butter melted

1/dl/1/2 c fine bread crumbs to sprinkle on the casserole
and little butter cubes for the indentations

Peel the rutabaga and cut into wedges. Cook until tender. Purée until smooth and add the bread crumbs. In a separate bowl mix the egg, milk, melted butter, ginger and white pepper. Mix the milk mixture into the puréed rutabaga. Spoon into greased baking tins. Bake at 160C/325F for 1-1.5 hours or until golden brown. The bake time is dependent on the depth of your casserole dish.

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