A warm and comforting casserole with southwestern flavors and a corn bread topping. This recipe was inspired by the fun, magical novel Keeper of Enchanted Rooms, our Lit Happens selection for November.
Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures chose the novel for this month and invited us to join her. Lit Happens is an online bookclub that invites anyone to join in the fun. We all read the book and than have discussion based on questions posted in our Facebook group.
We have been on a magical journey the last couple of months. Starting with The Wizard's Butler in September, followed by the hauntingly classic Rebecca in October and now reading this novel in November.
Let me start by saying that I loved this book, yes it did have some issues if you are looking at it with editor glasses on, but if you just want a fun, easy, relaxing read. This is a perfect answer.
This novel takes place in the 1800's in Rhode Island. One of the main characters, Merritt Fernsby, inherits a home on an Island from his grandmother. He arrives at the house to check it out and then finds himself unable to leave as the house is haunted.
Enter the second main character, Hulda Larkin, who is a wizard that specializes in taming enchanted houses. Hulda works for BIKER (Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms) and is sent to be housekeeper for Merritt and his house that turns out to be housing a 12 year old boy who had died in the last century and taken possession of the house which had been unoccupied (by humans) since.
Merritt and Hulda are joined by a wizard who is hired as a maid and a human that his hired as a chef. At one point in the story the chef is walking through the house with a deer haunch on his shoulder, hence the inspiration for the recipe I am sharing.
There is no requirement to create a recipe for this book club. I just am inspired into the kitchen with nearly every book I read or movie I watch. This book has a French Chef so there was a lot of food inspiration.
It, of course, also has an evil wizard that is powerful from stealing magic from other wizards and has now learned how to steal it from houses. It is the classic good vs evil in Harry Potter fashion.
November is hunting month in Michigan and this was my very last package of venison from last year's take. I hope all my hunting family and friends have a successful hunt this year so I can fill my freezer!!!
Of course, you don't need venison for this easy one pot casserole, any ground meat will do. Just omit the olive oil if using a fattier ground meat and drain it before continuing with the recipe. I used our favorite homemade BBQ sauce and have added a link in the recipe for your convenience. Feel free to use that or your favorite homemade or store bought brand. I also used a boxed muffin mix for the topping but you can always use homemade batter.