Do I Need to Cook Broccoli Before I Put it in a Casserole?

Save

It seems counter-intuitive to cook a vegetable before you bake it in a casserole, but precooking broccoli makes a casserole more successful than using the vegetable raw. The freshest broccoli heads have the darkest color and tightly closed buds. Use cooked broccoli in egg-based timbales, cooked pasta dishes, cheesy gratins, and the classic chicken and broccoli Mornay casserole with mushroom sauce.

Blanching

  • Blanching broccoli by cooking it very quickly in a pot of salted water and then "shocking" it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process gives you the best result for a casserole. Blanching allows the broccoli to retain its bright green color and cooks the vegetable enough so that your casserole won't get watery from raw broccoli. The result is a crisp-tender vegetable that cooks evenly and looks wonderful in the casserole.

Cooking

  • To blanch broccoli, peel off any tough ends of the stalks, rinse the broccoli thoroughly, and cut the florets into 1 1/2-inch pieces and the stalk into 3/4-inch pieces. A large pot of boiling water allows the broccoli to begin cooking immediately without the water needing to reach a second boil. Boil the pieces for 2 to 5 minutes, then drain them and plunge them into a large bowl of ice water.

Classic Casseroles

  • Both chicken divan -- named for an old New York City restaurant called Divan Parisien -- and chicken Mornay rely on a creamy sauce, shredded or cubed chicken breasts, and broccoli. For either recipe, use 1 head of broccoli for every 2 pounds of chicken, and a sauce made with flour, chicken stock, and milk or cream. Add cooked mushrooms for chicken Mornay or a few tablespoons of sherry for chicken divan, and bake the casseroles at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes.

A Quick Variation

  • A creamy cheese such as cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan or Swiss, pairs well with the strong flavor of broccoli. For a casserole that you assemble hot and cook in the broiler for just 2 minutes, combine cooked broccoli with sauteed mushrooms and top the mixture with a cheesy sauce and bread crumbs. One rich sauce combines 2 cups of cheddar cheese with a thickened white sauce, a small amount of cream cheese and 2 eggs.

Related Searches

References

  • The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
  • The Victory Garden Cookbook; Marian Morash
  • The Science of Good Cooking; Editors at America's Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby
  • Saveur: Broccoli Casserole
  • Saveur: Chicken Divan
  • The Flavor Bible; Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!