Oh yes yes yes, friends. We take a standard casserole that might usually involve a can of cream of something soup. We swap any said soup for homemade fondue-style sauce with a whole bulb of roasted garlic.
We eat our effing veggies, yo.
I mean, seriously. I’m a huge fan of 50s-style casseroles, but jazzing them up is one of my most favorite things ever to do. And this sauce? It’s ridiculous. I especially like that in this casserole you could use any veggies you want, swap out the protein, change the type of cheese, put quinoa on the bottom instead of rice…you get the picture. Options. Take advantage of them.
This recipe takes a tiny bit of time because you cook the components separately, THEN make the sauce, assemble the whole mess, bake, and eat. Which takes some time. But all of the steps are super simple, and if you take the time to make the casserole when you have a little bit of extra time you can just stick it in the fridge for a few days and bake it whenever you’d like. Ya dig?
Let’s do it.
You’ll need some chicken. I like boneless, skinless thighs because they don’t get dry or grainy. You’ll also need some rosemary, broccoli, stock, heavy cream, gruyere cheese, garlic, and some kind of rice. I love wild rice because it doesn’t get mushy in casseroles. THEN, in things not pictured, you’ll need salt, olive oil, butter, flour, and Worcestershire sauce. Kind of a long list. Envision those things pictured here please and thank you.
We’ll start the rice first: measure the rice and water, set a timer, cook to package directions. While that’s happening, we’ll roast the chicken, broccoli, and garlic. Turn the oven to 450F, and arrange the chicken on a baking sheet. Sprinkle it with salt and rosemary and drizzle it with olive oil.
Then, squish the roasted garlic into the pan and whisk everything together for a minute or two. It’ll be a little lumpy because of the garlic, but don’t worry about that a bit – bits of roasted garlic in your cheese sauce is a great thing. GREAT.
When all the ingredients are added to the sauce, stir for a few minutes until the cheese has melted, then taste the sauce and add some salt and pepper if you’d like. Let the sauce bubble for a few minutes, then turn off the heat.
Wasn’t that a nice way to put that? The end.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 bulb garlic
- olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups wild rice blend, cooked to package directions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 8 ounces grated gruyere cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of salt, and the rosemary. Arrange the broccoli and garlic bulb (keep the cloves together) on a separate baking sheet with olive oil and salt. Roast the broccoli, chicken, and garlic for 20 minutes, switching the pans once, until everything is cooked through and slightly browned.
- When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it into large pieces.
- When the garlic has cooled enough to handle, make the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the butter into the flour to create a roux. When the flour sizzles, slowly pour in the stock, whisking as you go, to create a smooth sauce. Add the cream, Worcestershire sauce, and 2/3 of the cheese. Squish the roasted garlic into the sauce. Stir the sauce until the cheese has melted (there may be a few lumps from the garlic, but that's ok!), and taste: add salt and pepper if you'd like.
- Arrange the rice in one layer at the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Top with the broccoli, then the shredded chicken. Pour the roasted garlic sauce over the dish, and top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake the dish for 20 minutes at 450F until the cheese is browned and bubbly.