With craft sales almost overwith, it's fun to cook again. It's also fun to have food in the house - until yesterday we were pretty much down to Coke Zero and coleslaw in the fridge! Last night we had another recipe from the Mennonite Christian Home Cookbook. One of my Mission 101 goals is to make five recipes from this book, and this was #3.
This cookbook is a particular challenge because it was published over 40 years ago and some of the ingredient sizes have changed. It also has no pictures and little instruction. With most recipes you can guess how they'll turn out even without the help of food stylists, but these are real chin scratchers. Mixing mushroom soup, tomato soup, cream cheese and crackers together is not something you'll find in the average cookbook. It's also unintentionally funny - there are three recipes for ham loaf, but only one is called Delicious Ham Loaf. There are five recipes for chop suey, but one is subtitled "The real Chinese way" :-)
So it was with great intrigue that I combined celery, cheese, mushroom soup, chicken broth, crushed crackers and chicken in the casserole dish. I crossed my fingers that an hour later it would come out tasty; after many trips to the Country Cousins restaurant out in Linden I had great faith that there is no such thing as a bad tasting Mennonite meal.
But I had second thoughts as I dished out the casserole. To be honest, it looked like barf on a plate. The diced cheese had melted and was suspended in little globs in the mushroom soup while the celery bobbed up here and there. My husband looked down at his plate and I recognized that look of fear and disappointment from the orzo loaf disaster years ago. He didn't say anything but politely dug in. To our complete surprise, it was amazingly delicious! I don't know how, I don't know why, but it just was. That's the magic of Mennonite cooking, I suppose! I could see substituting pork chops next time.
Submitted by Mrs. Ben Barker, Rich Hill, Mo.
1 large hen cooked and removed from the bone (I used raw chicken breasts)
1.5 cups diced celery, cooked (I left mine raw - it was fine)
1.5 cups diced cheese (I used cheddar)
1 small onion (oops, realized I forgot this!)
1 tsp salt (omitted because I used salted crackers)
1.8 tsp pepper
4 cups chicken broth (I actually used two due to the size of the dish)
4 cups crackers (I actually used two due to the size of the dish)
2 eggs, beaten (omitted because we don't eat eggs)
1 can mushroom soup (left unprepared)
Arrange chicken, crackers, cheese and celery in layers. Combine eggs, broth and mushroom soup and pour over chicken cracker mixture. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
I actually cooked mine for about one hour and fifteen minutes. I just realized that there's a typo - while onion is mentioned, it's not in the instructional part. I assume that you would dice the onion.