In which we have a Throwback Thursday.
While everyone else was busily blogging all November, I was pretty much just hiding. And eating.
For Thanksgiving, I was given the task of preparing some sort of green vegetable side dish. Usually I do a made-from-scratch green bean casserole, based on the classic cream-of-mushroom soup/french-fried onion recipe. But this year I thought I’d try something with broccoli.
Kim just happened to post her family’s traditional recipe for Broccoli Casserole just as I was trying to figure out what to make. Perfect!
I did have to change it a bit. I actually looked for the Cream of Broccoli soup, but without success. Maybe it’s not a big seller around here. It was just as well, because I’d rather not use the canned soups anyway. So instead, I made my usual home-made substitute for condensed cream-of-whatever soup, which you can find on this old post of mine from 2009. (I’m still enjoying that Hotdish Haiku cookbook, by the way. And the Pontiff is even willing to eat Wild Planet Tuna*, so now I’m able to make tuna casseroles and sandwiches.)
For the condensed soup, instead of mushrooms I used about 1/4th of a large rib of celery, a broccoli florette, and some onion, all minced – and cooked that up for a minute with the roux before adding the milk. (Note – the condensed soup substitute will look thinner than a can of condensed soup when you make it because it’s hot – but if you let it cool down to room temperature, you’ll see that it’s just as thick as the canned stuff.)
Since I had to transport it to my cousin’s house, and figured she probably wouldn’t have oven space available, I cooked it in my slow cooker (ancient 1980’s Crock Pot) instead of baking it. I had a big bag of fresh broccoli florettes, so I shocked them (blanched in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then plunged in ice water to stop the cooking – it turns them bright green), and weighed about about 1.5 pounds to use for this recipe. I dumped the shocked broccoli in the slow cooker, mixed the remaining ingredients except the breadcrumbs, and then stirred it into the broccoli. I also added a little extra salt, because the DIY soup substitute has far less salt than the canned variety, and after tasting the mixture, I thought it needed a bit more. I ended up cooking the casserole for probably about 3 hours on low – around 2 hours at home, and another hour at my cousin’s house.
For the breadcrumbs, I melted some butter in a skillet and added Panko crumbs, then toasted them until nicely browned. Then I put them in a container to take with me, and sprinkled them over the top of the casserole when it was served (otherwise the crumbs would have gotten soggy from being in the crockpot). I was thinking that adding some of those canned french-fried onions would have been a nice touch, but didn’t have any.
It worked out great, and it was nice not to have to rely on oven space being available.
*Wild Planet Tuna is pole-caught, and the raw, hand-cut tuna steaks are put in the cans and cooked during the canning process. Nothing added except salt (no water, no oil, no fillers). It’s also supposed to be lower in mercury due to the size and type of tuna, especially if you get the Skipjack tuna.