In case you don’t feel like googling it yourself, I thought I’d share this Pioneer Woman casserole recipe I tried out for Thanksgiving. I wanted to do something a little different, and a little lighter, this year, and this one garnered many accolades. Consider giving it a try for Christmas!
Cook’s Note: I assembled this casserole in stages throughout the work week before Thanksgiving, and I would recommend doing it that way again whole heartedly. I prepped veggies one night, made the wild rice and blanched the broccoli the next night (as that can be time consuming as well), and assembled the casseroles without baking them the third night. I left them assembled but un-topped in the fridge until Turkey Day, then topped with the panko bread crumbs and baked just prior to dinner. The leftovers are delicious, too!
– 2 cups Uncooked Wild Rice
– 10 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, More If Needed For Thinning
– 3 heads Broccoli, Cut Into Small Florets
– 1 pound White Button Or Crimini Mushrooms, Finely Chopped
– 1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
– 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
– 2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced
– 2 stalks Celery, Finely Diced
– 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
– 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
– 1 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
– 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
– 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (a detail that the original recipe on Pioneer Woman’s blog left out).
Add the wild rice into a medium saucepan with 5 cups of the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook the rice until it has just started to break open and is slightly tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Set it aside.
Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into boiling water for 1½ to 2 minutes, until bright green and still slightly crisp. Immediately drain the broccoli and plunge it into a bowl of ice water (or rinse in very cold water) to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set it aside.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and the mushrooms and cook, stirring them occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the liquid begins to evaporate. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the mixture begins to turn darker in color.
Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate it, then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Add half the cooked rice to the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish, then layer on half the broccoli. (You can do one layer of each or two layers of each. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then pour it into a separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
Cover with foil and bake the casserole at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.
This casserole might be daunting all at once, but if you break up the steps into one or two nights, it isn’t bad at all. And it’s so worth the homemade cream of mushroom soup. It’s delicious! And leftovers are best overs. ;)
Sorry about the lack of appealing pictures, but Thanksgiving was crazy and I was doing a lot of night-cooking! Hope this one makes it to your Christmas table, though. Happy Christmas planning!