Cajun crab and rice casserole

Let’s talk casseroles. They are my favorite form of comfort food, my favorite form of leftovers, and I just can’t imagine life without them. I grew up on all the greats—tuna noodle, chicken spaghetti (the one with Velveeta-yes, please, and thank you), lasagne, cheesy broccoli and rice, and more. So, so many more.

But, a 9×13″ pan of anything in a household of two is a great way for us to never want to eat a certain recipe ever again. People tell me that if two people split one pan of lasagne in between bouts of feeding a newborn baby, we’ll never want to eat lasagne again. I can definitely see that happening.

Anytime I make a casserole in this house, I either scale it down to fit in an 8×8″ pan, or I put half in the freezer. One of my all-time favorite casseroles is Heidi’s Wild Rice Casserole, and while I love it, I always divide it in half and put half in the freezer. It’s a case of too much of a good thing.

Cajun rice casserole with crab

So, this rice casserole is perfectly portioned to serve two for dinner one night, and two for lunch the next day.

This casserole hits all the high notes for me in the casserole world: creamy, hearty, and with a flavor that just gets better over time. I stirred a Cajun cream sauce into hot, cooked white rice. Old Bay seasoning is making me a little weak in the knees lately. Then, I added a bump of mascarpone cheese for creaminess, and plopped mushrooms on top to roast while the casserole baked.

As for the crab, please, be kind to yourself and buy it already cooked and cleaned. I used these snow crab claws from Omaha Steaks, because as you guys know, they are one of the brands I’m working with this year. The crab claws come already cooked, so all I had to do was pop them out of the shells and stir them into the dish. I highly recommend them, but if you can’t find them, any cooked crab will work great in this recipe.

Crab is pretty. The end.

Crab casserole with rice and Cajun spices

 

Yield: 4

Dinner for Two: Cajun Rice Crab Casserole

Dinner for Two: Cajun Rice Crab Casserole
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 lb cooked and cleaned crab meat
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned
  • 2 T olive oil
  • sprigs of fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 8Ã?8-inch square casserole dish.
  2. In a large bowl, add the rice.
  3. Pull the meat out of the crab claws and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  5. Add the diced celery, onion and Old Bay seasoning.
  6. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle over the flour and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  8. Slowly stream in the milk.
  9. Let the milk come to a simmer to thicken.
  10. It will coat the back of a spoon when thickened.
  11. Finally, stir in the salt, pepper and mascarpone cheese.
  12. Remove from the heat, and stir occasionally until the mascarpone melts completely.
  13. Pour the mascarpone sauce over the rice and crab mixture.
  14. Stir together, and then pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
  15. Clean the portobello caps by removing the stem and the gills.
  16. Rub them with the olive oil, and place on top of the rice in the casserole dish.
  17. Top with fresh thyme, and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling around the edges.

As you know, I partner with Omaha Steaks each month to produce one fabulous dinner for two recipe. This month I used their crab claws when testing this recipe. I was compensated for my time and received the products for free. Thank you for letting me work with brands that I love!