John Wayne Casserole Recipe That Made the Duke Proud

John Wayne is a legendary Western actor who knows exactly what his audiences want. It turns out that he had an understanding of more than just the movies he starred in. Wayne’s name is tied to a casserole recipe that his fans absolutely love to enjoy, but not many understand how it got its name. Here’s a look at the original John Wayne Casserole recipe and how it got its name.

How did John Wayne Casserole get its name?

John Wayne, who submitted the John Wayne Casserole recipe, wearing a cowboy hat and holding a cigarette at an unknown dinner event
John Wayne | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

According to Cooks Info, the John Wayne Casserole was first printed in a 318-page softcover cookbook. The 1979 book called Cooking with Love From Cara and Her Friends brought readers a collection of recipes from various celebrities. Cara Connery assembled these recipes over the course of 2 years.

Cooking with Love From Cara and Her Friends was part of a fundraising effort to aid the American Cancer Society. She started to put the book together in January 1978 along with her mother at only 10 years old. Connery wrote to 1,400 celebrities to inquire about their interest in contributing to the cookbook.

Wayne directly contributed the John Wayne Casserole recipe, but it’s unknown where he originally got the recipe. As a result of his submission, the casserole got its name from his involvement.

Here’s how to make the John Wayne Casserole recipe

Cooks Info wrote about the original John Wayne Casserole recipe from Connery’s cookbook. It’s a crustless, vegetarian, cheese, and egg recipe. The source lists the following ingredients:

  • 1 can (4 ½ ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thick

See below for the step-by-step guide on how to make the John Wayne Casserole recipe:

Butter a 2-quart, oven-proof casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the chilies with the cheeses and place into dish. Combine the egg yolks, evaporated milk, flour and salt and cayenne, and beat thoroughly. Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold into the yolk mixture. Pour over cheese mixture in dish and pierce with fork to allow liquid to absorb into cheese. Bake 40 minutes. Place tomato slices in a layer on top and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

Future generations added more to the recipe

The John Wayne Casserole recipe took on a life of its own. The University of Mississippi Medical Center Cafeteria version in Jackson, Mississippi evolved the recipe. Additionally, plenty of food influencers on YouTube took inspiration from the recipe and also added additional ingredients.

Catherine’s Plates is an example of a YouTube channel taking inspiration from the John Wayne Casserole recipe. She adds ground beef and yellow onion as just a couple of the new ingredients. It’s clear that Wayne inspired many folks around the world with more than just his influential Western movies.

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