Itâ€™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.Â I seem to have more time to make stocks and sauces for the freezer and try new baking recipes.Â 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 motherâ€™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, itâ€™s better than prozac to chase the winter blues away.
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
3 Tablespoons butter
Â¼ cup flour
2 cups of milk or cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and white pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Â¼ cup white wine (optional)
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.