Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

A conversation with my mom yesterday gave me a brilliant idea that pulled together the Daiya cheese I picked up to try for the first time a couple weeks ago and the giant bag of broccoli crowns from last week's Mariquita Mystery Box.  This is a recipe in development as I didn't exactly measure everything and it worked out perfectly!

Before throwing this together, I looked up some recipes for Broccoli Rice casserole - most of them use the same basic ingredients: broccoli, rice, cheddar cheese, a can of UBI (universal binding ingredient aka Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup).   Being the snob that my brother accuses me - I don't have any Campbell's (or any other packaged soup) in the house.  I do, however, have a variety of dried wild mushrooms and Road's End Organics Savory Herb Gravy packets.  As always - save the water that you use to soak the dried mushrooms - don't worry if they still feel firm - they will soften up after they are mixed in and baked.

  • 4-5 cups cooked rice - I used brown basmati & Louisiana wild rice cooked w/veggie stock
  • 1 qt stock/mushroom water
  • EVOO or untoasted sesame oil, as needed
  • 1.5 c white wine
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 8 oz package Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 3 to 4 c raw broccoli crowns cut up into tiny florets, thinly slice the stalks
  • 1 red onion, quartered & thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced & roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper in 1/2" dice
  • 2.5 cups mushrooms, fresh or dried
  • 1 Tb dried thyme
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 packets Road's End Organics Savory Herb Gravy (you could possibly substitute this by making a little almond butter gravy or mixing up flour/tapioca starch/corn starch to gravy-fy the mushrooms & onions)

I used my two largest cast iron skillets (10" and 11 3/4"), a large stainless still mixing bowl for combining everything and a big Pyrex casserole dish.
  1. Using the smaller skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil and add the onions, cook until transluscent.  Add the garlic.
  2. While the onions & garlic cook, use scissors or a knife to cut up the dried mushrooms into small dice.  You can leave fresh mushrooms in larger pieces but I think dried mushrooms turn out better if you cut them smaller.  I used scissors to cut up dried porcini pieces into little bits, and a knife to cut up the dried shitakes (which come whole).
  3. After the garlic starts to soften and liquid in the pan is reduced, add the mushrooms.  Cook until reduced and then deglaze with a generous amount of wine.  Continue cooking until the wine reduces then add more until you have added all the wine.  
  4. Remove mushrooms & onions from heat, stir in thyme, nutritional yeast & contents of gravy packets, stir until well mixed. 
  5. Put the larger skillet on high heat with enough olive oil to coat - add broccoli stalk pieces first, stir fry til bright green, add florets and red pepper flakes.  Squeeze in juice of 1/2 lemon if desired.
  6. Once florets are bright green, start adding the quart of stock - about 1/4 of the quantity at a time to simmer/steam the broccoli a bit.  Even better if you are using the mushroom soaking water!
  7. After using 1 qt of stock and reducing to about 1/2 c liquid, turn off flame.
  8. Transfer rice to large stainless steel mixing bowl and break up any lumps.  
  9. Transfer broccoli to mixing bowl and toss with rice.
  10. Add  Daiya cheddar shreds and toss with broccoli & rice.
  11. Spoon in raw diced red bell pepper along with the mushrooms & onion mixture and toss gently.
  12. Taste and season with salt, black or white pepper, or Nama Shoyu as needed.  A little vegan worcestershire or peanut sauce might not hurt either.
  13. Transfer to your lightly oiled Pyrex casserole dish, bake at 450 for 30-40 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven and let cool before you eat it and burn your fool mouth!

It tastes even better the next day and slices into servings wonderfully!  The Daiya cheddar shreds tasted really good out of the package and melted really well.  The edge along the casserole dish got crispy chewy cheesy, making me wish I had saved some of the shreds to put on top to make it more bubbly & cheesy.

Tonight, I'm going to make garlic cheese bread with the Daiya mozzarella shreds that are in the fridge.

1 comment:

ErinM said...

I know this isn't the right place, but I'm not familiar with Blogger and messaging, so I do apologize for the out-of-place comment. My mother linked me to one of the images in your Flicker account, and wanted to check in a bit more "officially".

It seems we're related! :)