5 Casseroles To See You Through Winter

A perennial favorite as a hot dish to keep warm on cold winter days is the casserole. A casserole is usually defined as a meal oven cooked in a long high sided pan. It must contain protein, carbs, and veggies all in one. I again polled my friends as to there favorites and added wine pairings. Enjoy.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Food styling by Noah Witenoff | Prop styling by Sasha Seymour
Image by: Jeff Coulson

Cabbage rolls casserole seem to be a Canadian favorite. This is a good, easy variation on the more time-gobbling traditional cabbage-roll recipe, but with all that great mixture of flavours! You can play with the proportions and amounts quite a bit and still have a good recipe. Do the prep the night before, and leave in your oven with the self-timer set, come home to a great-smelling house!

Favorite pairings would be a Malbec or Zinfandel. Zinfandel is extremely food friendly and play well with the different components of the Cabbage Rolls, such as meat (whether it be beef or pork), the Cabbage, or any sort of tomato sauce on the Cabbage roll.

Malbec work in a similar fashion. They are a little spicier on the tongue, which is perfect for the meat component. They are also bright and mid-bodied wines, so they don’t overshadow the cabbage.

lasagna

The Ultimate Lasagna
Image by: Jeff Coulson

Layer after scrumptious layer of rich meat sauce, tender pasta and creamy cheese make this lasagna the best you’ll ever have. The family-friendly classic is just as good when you make it ahead, so it’s a Monday night lifesaver

Tart and savory Sangiovese (like one made into a Chianti Classico style) drinks well with the intensity of lasagna. This is because the high acid and rustic flavor profile cuts through creamy fat and with tomato at the same time. Sangiovese is delicious, ubiquitous (it’s Italy’s top grape), and drinks well with every style of lasagna.

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie
Image by: Shepherd’s Pie Author: Canadian Living

Shepherd’s pie is economical and tasty, this quintessential British mix of meat and potatoes proves that some meals are just as good the second time round. There are many variations that exist. Our family likes it with lentils instead of meat. I never understood why in French it is called Pate Chinois – there is nothing Chinese about it. Nonetheless, have fun with it.

A southern French red like the ever-versatile Côtes-du-Rhône Villages or a named village wine like Vacqueyras is always a good match.

Baked Ziti

Quick Baked Sausage and Mushroom Ziti
Image by: Jodi Pudge

A favorite for many. This ziti recipe is a faster weeknight-friendly version of this classic Sunday casserole by keeping the ingredients simple and baking the pasta at a high temperature for less time. Again many people have variations on this dish.

Oven-roasting boosts the sweetness in this dish, and endears it to a ripe red wine. An elegant, dark-fruited red Valpolicella can boost the sweetness of the onion and tomato in this dish.

Macaroni and Cheese

Photography by Jeff Coulson Image by: Jeff Coulson

 

If comfort food is what you’re after, nothing beats a generous helping of creamy, oozy mac and cheese. This recipe is a yummy version. It is the one you’ll ever need to enjoy as is – or you can modify. We add some chopped and fried onions and celery with a tin of tuna (add juice too). Voila instant tuna noodle casserole. Once you’ve made your own – you’ll never go back to store bought instant Mac and Cheese.

The best wine to pair with  macaroni and cheese depends how fancy – and how cheesy – your mac and cheese is.

With a homely old-fashioned recipe you might just want a simple glass of white. Whereas with one made with a fine strong artisan cheddar or with lashings of cream and lobster you might go for something more extravagant. 

Here are some to consider.

Chardonnay
Probably the safest bet whichever recipe you’re looking at. A light unoaked chardonnay for a simple creamy macaroni cheese, a posh white burgundy if you’re eating a more extravagant one with lobster. Smooth dry Chenin Blanc works on a similar basis.

Dry riesling
Counter-intuitive but good – like crunching into a refreshing apple with your cheese.

St Emilion  
Merlot works surprisingly well with macaroni cheese, I’ve found, especially if it contains bacon. It needn’t be Bordeaux, a young St Emilion does work well.