Funeral Hotdish is a comforting casserole that brings warmth and nourishment during times of grief. This hearty dish is packed with flavors and easily feeds a crowd. Whether you’re attending a funeral or simply craving a comforting meal, Funeral Hotdish is the perfect choice.
- 1 bunch of celery (approximately 10 stalks)
- 3 large onions (We used four because we love onion)
- 6 pounds lean ground beef (We used 8 pounds because we like it beefier)
- 2 two-pound boxes elbow macaroni (for a total of four pounds – Joyce’s Funeral Committee uses Creamettes Elbow Macaroni)
- 1 large can (50-ounces) Campbell’s tomato soup, undiluted
- 2 large cans (46-ounces each) Campbell’s tomato juice
- 1 large bottle (46-ounces) catsup (the Swanville Funeral Committee uses Heinz Ketchup)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (freshly ground is best, of course)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack in the middle position. Alternatively, you can use an 18-quart electric roaster set to 350 degrees F.
- Hannah’s 1st Note: Joyce recommends having three people helping with this recipe for efficiency. One person can chop and sauté the celery and onions, another can brown the hamburger, and the third person can cook the pasta and mix the sauce.
- Start by spraying the inside of your pan or the electric roaster with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray. A disposable turkey roaster sprayed with Pam works well too.
- Clean the celery, chop it into bite-size pieces, and cook it in a frying pan with a little butter over low heat. Stir occasionally.
- Peel the onions, chop them into bite-sized pieces, and add them to the frying pan with the celery. Continue cooking over low heat until translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Brown the ground beef over medium heat, ensuring it browns in bite-size pieces by chopping it with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Joyce and her committee prefer using a pan in the oven for this step.
- Drain the browned ground beef and rinse off the excess fat by placing the meat in a strainer and spraying it with warm water. (We skipped the rinsing step, and it turned out delicious anyway.)
- Cook the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the box, making sure not to overcook it. Drain the macaroni and set it aside. Feel free to salt the water if desired.
- In a separate bowl or directly in the electric roaster, combine the undiluted tomato soup, tomato juice, and catsup. Mix in the brown sugar and ground black pepper. Joyce’s committee mixes the sauce in the electric roaster and heats it before adding the other ingredients. We mixed the sauce at the bottom of a disposable turkey roaster and didn’t preheat it before adding the other ingredients.
- Add the cooked celery and onions to the sauce and stir them in.
- Stir in the browned ground beef.
- Add the cooked and drained macaroni to the mixture and mix well.
- Once everything is thoroughly mixed, cover the roaster with heavy-duty foil and place it in a 350 degree F. oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent sticking. If using an electric roaster, put on the lid and cook for 2 hours at 350 degrees F., stirring occasionally.
- Serve the Funeral Hotdish hot and enjoy the comforting flavors it brings.
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