Hotdish of the Month

It’s that time of the year to hunker down and cook…

It’s what I do for entertainment in the winter here in the north woods.  I seem to have more time to make stocks and sauces for the freezer and try new baking recipes.  I catch up on my writing and projects that were pushed to the back burner during the holidays. I’ve decided to add a hotdish of the month during the cooler months to my recipe line up. Here’s the first one that’s easy and comforting.

I grew up eating a broccoli and rice casserole almost every Sunday. It was one of my mother’s favorites to prepare and it paired well with BBQ which was on the menu most weeks. I have updated and localized this recipe to include a little bit of wild rice because most folks that live in the North woods have wild rice in the pantry. You could spin this dish easily into a exotic hotdish with a tablespoon of hot curry in the cream sauce or add a cup of chopped cilantro and spike of cumin and curry powder for a southwestern influence. Great for cold winter nights, it’s better than prozac to chase the winter blues away.

First you make a roux...

Cook roux and add milk or cream to make a cream sauce

Mix broccoli, ham, cream sauce and ham together

Pour into 9 x 13 casserole and top with cheese

Bake until golden brown

Yum! Great comfort food for a cold winter night

Broccoli Rice Hotdish with Ham or Chicken

Broccoli, Cheese, Ham and Rice meld together beautifully for a symphony of delicate flavors that soothe and comfort on frigid days.

To print recipe click here

Serves 8

Sauce recipe:

3 Tablespoons butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups of milk or cream

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and white pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

¼ cup white wine (optional)

Hotdish Base:

1 bunch (3 stalks) fresh broccoli, cut up in small pieces

2 cups diced ham or cooked chicken

8 ounces mild cheddar, shredded (2 cups, divided)

1 cup white rice, cooked ( 1/3 cup raw)

1 cup wild rice, cooked

1 cup crushed potato or tortilla chips for topping


Melt butter in small saucepan and add flour. Stir until smooth, cook for aprox 5 minutes to cook the raw flour taste out of the roux. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Mix in nutmeg, salt, white pepper and cayenne. Let mixture come to a boil and thicken, stir in white wine and set aside.

Blanch or steam broccoli in a pot of water, cooking just a couple of minutes because you will cook it again. Run cold water over broccoli to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, add all remaining ingredients except chips and reserve one cup of shredded cheddar for top of hot dish . Stir in the cream sauce and mix evenly. Pour in a large casserole dish and top with chips and reserved shredded cheddar. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350F until bubbling.

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4 Responses to Hotdish of the Month

  1. Wilma Rahn says:

    Could you use frozen chopped broccoli to save time?

  2. Sara says:

    I’d love to try this – could you please clarify the rice measurement for me? Do you start with one cup raw rice and cook it – or – use 1 cup of rice after it’s been cooked. Thanks.

    • Arlene Coco says:

      Hi the measurement is for one cup of cooked rice. So you would start with 1/3 cup of raw rice and 2/3 cup of water and cook it to equal 1 cup of cooked rice.

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