In honor of Sydney’s birthday, Abby threw her a surprise dinner party last night. We were assigned dished and, since our assignment was “broccoli”, I cracked open my copy of “The Panhellenic Cookbook: Casseroles.” I didn’t search long for a recipe, since the previous owner had put a paperclip bookmark at the broccoli section, and only 1 recipe had a check mark: “Broccoli Puff”. Winner!
I multiplied it by 1.5 to get the number of servings I thought I needed (plus, the math worked out nicely for the size of the bags of broccoli and number of eggs), and made a few substitutions to make it gluten free. And added herbs and garlic, and subtracted some of the onion. The recipe, post math:
- 2 16oz bags broccoli (I like large pieces, not the tiny bits in boxes)
- 1 18oz can Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 2 cups + 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic (dried, minced)
- 1 tbs powdered onion
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (gf, I used Glutino’s pre-done ones)
- herbs to taste (I used about a tablespoon each of marjoram, basil, and bouquet garni)
- 2-3 tbs butter
- hand mixer (or fork)
- large bowl
- small pot (for soup)
- medium pot (for broccoli)
- electric teakettle (to make hot water to pour over the frozen broccoli, because it wasn’t heating up fast enough for me to get it in the oven on time.)
- 2.5 qt casserole dish
- spatula or 2
- measuring cups
- The night before: heat up the soup to condense it slightly, and also add the onion and garlic (so they’re nicely rehydrated). You can add some of the dried herbs now, if you want. Store in the fridge.
- The day of: simmer the broccoli for a few minutes (didn’t want to cook it much, just until it’s hot, since it gets more cooking later and I like color/shape retention in my veggies)
- Preheat oven to 350f. Put a tablespoon of butter in the casserole, melt it in the oven while it heats up.
- Get anxious that the broccoli’s not heating fast enough and is, in fact, still too frozen to stir, boil water in electric teakettle, pour over broccoli in pot.
- Combine the eggs, 2 cups cheese, soup, mayo, pepper and herbs.
- Stir the breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of cheese together in a separate container.
- Remove hot casserole dish with melted butter, swirl the butter around to coat sides and bottom of dish (or skip the melting and butter it however you prefer.)
- By now, the broccoli should be done enough, add it to the mix, stir it up, and pour the broccoli/egg/cheese/herb/mayo/soup mix into the casserole.
- Top with breadcrumbs and dot with butter (The casserole I used is deep, so I didn’t use all the mix or butter. If I had used a shallower one, I probably would have had enough surface area to use all of it. I ended up with about 1/4 cup left over.)
- Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. Maybe even an hour. We had to leave, so I pulled it at 50 minutes, and it was kind of jiggly when I shook it, like pudding. But, since I covered it, wrapped it in towels and put it in a box, it baked a little more with the residual heat and wasn’t jiggly when served.
Result: Much tastier than I imagined from the raw ingredients! It was a hit at the party, too! I thought I’d be taking half of it home, but only had a few spoonfuls left. (I had it with breakfast & lunch the next day.)
From the name, I expected it to rise somewhat while cooking, and maybe it does when cooked in a shallower dish? Or maybe the egg sets it a little better when so much extra liquid isn’t added, and the broccoli bits are smaller? It was good enough that I’m definitely going to try this again (original recipe size, shallower casserole), and see how it behaves.