Who doesn't love a casserole? One of our favorite sides at Harold's Meat + Three is this version featuring the ultimate trio: cheese, broccoli and rice. Chef Harold Moore's inspiration in creating the dish was a gluten-free side for diners that could stand up to mac and cheese. Fluffy rice is tossed with blanched broccoli and a rich sauce of Gruyère, cheddar and Velveeta before hitting the dish. We add a few bread crumbs on top, but feel free to omit them for the perfect gluten-free casserole.
We love how broccoli fits into this casserole, but don't feel bound to this veg. You can substitute cauliflower or carrots and still get the same cheesy goodness. Just don't mess with the cheeses: Moore loves this combo of melty, stretchy and sharp cheeses.
To learn more, read "The 'Role of a Lifetime."
Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Recipe adapted from Harold Moore, Harold's Meat + Three, New York, NY
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
1 pound broccoli, stems peeled
Kosher salt, to taste
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
12 ounces Velveeta, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
2 cups heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut the broccoli into small florets and finely chop the peeled stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Blanch the broccoli until vibrant green but still crisp, 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath to cool, then drain.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and chicken stock over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is almost completely cooked, 10 minutes.
3. In a large saucepan, combine the rice with the Velveeta, grated cheeses and heavy cream over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the cheeses have melted into a smooth sauce that coats the rice, 8 to 10 minutes. Fold in the blanched broccoli, then season with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish and smooth into an even layer with a spatula.
5. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter until evenly coated, then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the rice mixture.
6. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes, then serve.