Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Of all the Thanksgiving side dishes, this one is an absolute must every year at our Thanksgiving table. It it simply not Thanksgiving without it. It’s one of those crossover dishes that the kids end up loving. One year I had a request from my niece for more “trees!” We all chuckled at that, and I can only hope that it solidified a liking of broccoli at a young age.
Over the years, I’ve grown tired of the original Broccoli Cheese Casserole, complete with Cheez Whiz. Yearning for a less processed version, I decided to give my favorite Thanksgiving dish a make-over!
Here are the main ingredients ready to go. First, start with blanching the broccoli for a few minutes. Then, run them over cold water until cool, or place in an ice bath. Drain well, then squeeze as much water as you can out of them. I like to put them in a clean kitchen towel, gather the sides until you form a ball ‘o broccoli, then squeeze to your hearts content!
The casserole itself starts out the same as the original, with sautéing the onions. Then you make a roux by adding the flour to cook for about a minute, then pour the milk in a steady stream while continually whisking. Continue whisking until all the milk is gone, and the mixture starts to thicken. Then comes the fun part – add your cheese! Kerrygold has awesome cheese and butter, so I used them where I could here – their butter, and their Reserve Cheddar*. If you can’t find the Reserve Cheddar (and admittedly sometimes I can’t), you can use any sharp, white cheddar.
Once the cheese is melted, and your seasonings all mixed in, we do what we’ve all been waiting for, marry that divine cheese sauce with the broccoli.
Hello, lover! Get that pup in a casserole dish, top with buttery breadcrumbs, and you’re nearly set! Waiting is the hardest part, while it bubbles and browns for 30 minutes.
Hey! It’s almost time! Who says you need a turkey on Thanksgiving? Just give me this, and a house full of family, and I’m golden.
What is the Thanksgiving dish that you absolutely can not live without? I want to know!
*Though Kerrygold USA does, from time to time send me products and coupons, this was not a sponsored post. I just love Kerrygold products THAT MUCH. All my opinions are my own.
- For the Bread Crumb Topping
- 3 Slices of bread, pulverized in the food processor
- 1 Tablespoon Kerrygold Butter
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- For the Casserole
- 8 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets & stems, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 Cup Diced Yellow Onion
- 2 Tablespoons Kerrygold Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Flour
- 1 1/2 Cup 2% Milk
- 4 oz (or 1 1/3 Cup) Fontina Cheese, shredded
- 4 oz (or 1 1/3 Cup) Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, shredded
- 2 oz (or 1/2 Cup) Parmesan Cheese, shredded
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- Heat oven to 350°F, place bread crumbs on a cookie sheet, and place in oven.
- Every two minutes, move the bread crumbs around, so they don’t burn, repeating until the crumbs are crispy and have lost all their moisture, about 7 minutes.
- Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Lightly spray a two quart casserole dish with olive oil (or other cooking spray).
- Add the stems to the boili first, and cook for one minute. Then add in the florets and cook three minutes more.
- Drain the broccoli in a colander, then run cool water over the broccoli until it’s cooled.
- Place the broccoli on a clean towel, gather the sides until you form a ball, and squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the broccoli. Reserve to a large bowl.
- Place two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add in the onions, and cook for 7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and just starting to turn golden brown.
- Add in the flour and whisk for one minute.
- Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly until all the milk is incorporated with no lumps of flour. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken slightly, about 2-4 minutes.
- Lower the heat to low, and add in the fontina cheese, whisking until just melted. Repeat with the other two cheeses.
- Add in salt, pepper, and nutmeg, whisking well.
- Toss with the blanched and drained broccoli, and place in the oiled casserole dish.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium-low heat until just melted.
- Add in the breadcrumbs, and mix to coat evenly, then distribute them evenly over the broccoli cheese mixture.
- Place in the oven, and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.