The traditional Finnish Yule dinner is based on casseroles. Carrot, rutabaga and sweetened potato casseroles are the usual, but macaroni casserole can also be served and some people even have liver casserole. Of course the casseroles can be eaten any time, and I think people should eat them more often. They’re healthy, easy and cheap side dishes, although making them is rather time consuming, mostly because long baking time. Especially the potato casserole is slow food, since you have to start making it day before serving, but most of the time isn’t active cooking.
Sweetened Potato Casserole
2 kg floury potatoes (Rosamunda for example)
4 tbsp wheat flour
50 g melted margarine or oil
about 8 dl oat or soy milk
2 tsp salt
Cook the potatoes in water until soft. Peel and mash when they’re still hot. Stir in flour. Cover and keep in warm place at least 6 hours, but over night is better. Room temperature isn’t warm enough, so if you have a fireplace or other warm thing you can put the potato dish close to it. If not, keep in oven in 50 Celsius degrees.*
Next day the potatoes should be softer and easier to stir and they should taste sweet. If your potatoes didn’t sweeten well, you can add some syrup. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. It should look like thin porridge or thick soup at this point. If you want to freeze half of your casserole, you should freeze it before baking. Grease an oven proof dish with margarine and pour some potato mixture in it. Fill the dish only half way or 2/3, otherwise the casserole easily boils over in the oven. Bake in 150-175 Celsius degrees 2-3 hours.
*If the potatoes don’t sweeten, the most likely reason is wrong temperature. I couldn’t make good Sweetened Potato Casserole until I found out that I have to keep in the oven during the sweetening. But I also know some people (like my mum) who sweeten their potatoes in room temperature and still their casseroles turn out great.