Broccoli, rice and cheese seem to have a natural affinity for each other and this recipe has been around in one form or another for years. But you know what? We never had it at our house when I was growing up. I remember having it at church potluck suppers, and I know my friends had it at their house, but this was not one of my mother’s side dishes. Other popular meals that my friends had were Shake and Bake Chicken and Hamburger Helper, but nope, not us. I felt so deprived! And even to this day, as a grown-up, when I hear or read about broccoli and rice casserole I still get that “left out” feeling. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and just make it. With all the people who have made this dish over the years, how hard could it be?
I know that some people used “Cheez-Whiz” to make this dish real cheesy, but that, too, had been denied to me. So I followed the path I know and used a cheddar cheese. You can make this with fresh broccoli if you precook it sightly, or as a time saver use frozen broccoli florets. The type of rice you use can vary according to your taste. I used long grain white rice, but you could use a wild and white rice combination, brown rice, or any other variety of rice.
The finished casserole was indeed cheesy, and had a good proportion of broccoli to rice, so I didn’t feel that it was too heavy with carbohydrates. It’s filling and satisfying, and goes well with most any meat or fish, or serve with another vegetable and a salad for a meatless meal.
BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup rice ( long grain, brown, or other)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 medium head broccoli, stems trimmed, and cut into florets; or use 1 (14 0z.) bag frozen broccoli florets
- 1 can ( 11 oz.) cream soup, i.e., cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350*F.
1. Saute onion in 2 T olive oil; when onion is translucent stir in rice. Cook and stir for 2 – 3 minutes more. Add 2 cups broth, bring to a boil, decrease heat and simmer about 40 minutes with the lid on. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
2. Meanwhile cook (or thaw) broccoli, but not completely. You want it to be on the crisp side. Drain off any liquid. Mix in the soup and pepper.
3. Add the cooked rice and 1/2 cup cheese.
Transfer to a baking dish that has been prepared with non-stick spray. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350*F.
SOURCE: Adapted from The Casserole Connection