Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Oh boy am I glad to be back.  The last couple of weeks have been beyond stressful but I'm happy to report that things are looking up.  Work is decidedly less crazy now and I'm actually finding time to cook blogworthy food again.

This casserole was exactly what I was hoping for.  I knew if Annie said it was comforting, it would be.  The girl knows comfort food, pure and simple.  But what Annie also knows is how to let food bring comfort without also bringing guilt.

My version has only one major difference than Annie's--the cheese.  I thought I had cheddar at home but, when I went to pull my ingredients out to start this dish, I realized the good extra-sharp cheddar had fallen victim to snacking.  Luckily, I had enough Parmesan to sub in.  The dish was great with it and I know it would be fantastic with the cheddar, so I've put both in the recipe.  I'm sure you could use any flavorful cheese you like.  (Please take Annie's advice not to use pre-shredded cheese.  It is coated with flour or cornstarch and will not produce a smooth sauce.)  While it was cooking, I also got to thinking how good it would be with some leftover Thanksgiving turkey in place of the chicken (and maybe some mushrooms, too).  

Lots of options, lots of comfort.  It's good to be back.

broccoli cheese quinoa casserole
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

1 1/2 c. quinoa (uncooked)
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2 c.)
3 TBSP unsalted butter
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
2 shallots, diced
2 c. milk (low fat works fine)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. Parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
2 c. shredded cooked chicken

1.  Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  

2.  Meanwhile, place the broccoli in a saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil 1-2 minutes more, until the broccoli is crisp-tender but not mushy.  Drain immediately and shock with cold water to stop the cooking.  Set aside.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  

4.  While quinoa is still cooking, make cheese sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan (I used the same one I used for the broccoli, just rinsed and dried out) over medium heat.  Whisk in flour, shallots, garlic powder, mustard, and cayenne pepper.  Cook, continuing to whisk until mixture is golden blonde in color, about 1-2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and allow sauce to simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in cheese until melted and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

5.  In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, broccoli, chicken, and cheese sauce.  Fold together gently until evenly combined then pour into a lightly greased casserole dish.  Bake until top is lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.


Jennifer said...

This looks so good.

Natalie said...

PERFECT comfort food!

Jessica @ Sunny Side Up said...

I LOL at "fell victim to snacking". That happens to cheese in my house often!

This does sound like great comfort food!

Julie Capellas Jennings said...

So glad you are back and it looks amazing! It is going on my post Thanksgiving list!

That Girl said...

So funny, I have a similar recipe bookmarked from another blog - not Annies!

Annie said...

So glad you enjoyed this!

Angie said...

Wow! I was looking for a recipe and found your blog without even trying! I made a version of this with a creamy dijon curry sauce and it was delicious!! I will have to try this one soon!