Photo: Oxmoor House
New Brunswick Lobster Casserole
This creamy casserole of cooked lobster, mushrooms, and shredded Swiss cheese is a Northeastern favorite during lobster season. Although named for New Brunswick, Canada, where lobster is the primary catch, the casserole is a favorite along the coastline of Maine and into other parts of New England.
This time-honored noodle casserole was introduced into the New York region by Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. The word kugel comes from the German word for “ball.” It is traditionally a round, baked sweet or savory pudding or casserole made of noodles or potatoes (although many contemporary versions may include other grains and even vegetables).
Shrimp and Grits Dressing
This lowcountry favorite morphs a popular breakfast dish into a hearty dressing that’s often served alongside turkey at Thanksgiving. Shrimp and grits casserole features fresh shrimp mixed with grits, butter, eggs, chicken broth, and Parmesan cheese.
More akin to pudding than bread, this creamy Southern staple is best eaten with a spoon—hence its name. Spoonbread is usually made with cornmeal, milk, butter, flour, and eggs, and is said to have its origins in a Native American corn porridge called suppone or suppawn.
Ever the thrifty and enterprising cooks, Midwesterners love this casserole—a repurposed spaghetti dinner. Traditional Bolognese-topped spaghetti is blended with a little bit of cream of mushroom soup to keep it moist, topped with cheese, and then baked in the oven.
King Ranch Casserole
If Texas had a state casserole, this would be it. This old-time Tex-Mex favorite melds cream sauce and shredded chicken with layers of cheese, bell peppers, onions, and tortillas. Although many Southerners would insist that it needs a cream-based soup for casserole authenticity, most Texans prefer a homemade roux-based sauce in this classic potluck and church-supper dish.
You’d have to be a fast-moving cowboy not to pack on a paunch after downing this Western favorite. A filling of ground beef, onions, peas, cheese, and cream of mushroom soup gets a crisp topping from neat rows of tater tots.
Walla Walla Onion Casserole
Washington’s Walla Walla onions enjoy only a short 10-week season beginning in mid-June, so local chefs look for many ways to use them when they come to market. Multiple variations of this casserole exist, but most highlight the Walla Walla’s sweet flavor with a cheese-enhanced cream sauce and a crisp topping of buttered breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.