Broccoli Cheddar Wild Rice Bake
By: 
Dish Type: Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Meatless, Comfort Food, Make Ahead
Ingredient prep: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 large servings
 
Don't be intimidated by the sauce in this recipe--a roux is more difficult to ruin than you think! The end result will be more than rewarding--high protein wild rice and roasted broccoli smothered in that slightly sweet, creamy sauce and bubbling with melted cheddar.
Ingredients
  • 4 C broccoli pieces and/or florets, chopped small (about ¾ lb.)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1¼ t Kosher salt
  • ½ t ground black pepper
  • 1 C whole milk
  • ⅔ C vegetable (or chicken) broth (see note to substitute stock)
  • 2½ T butter
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped small (about 1 C)
  • 2½ T flour
  • ¼ t mustard powder (optional)
  • ½ C chopped celery
  • 2 C cooked wild rice (from about ¾ C dry)
  • 4 oz. mild cheddar, grated (white or yellow; about 1 C)
Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 425. In a small casserole dish (1½ to 2½ quarts), toss broccoli pieces with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle with ¼ t salt and a pinch of pepper. Roast in bottom third of oven for 5 minutes, until just tender with some crunch in the middle.
  2. While the broccoli cools, make the sauce. Scald milk in a small saucepan by heating it over medium until tiny bubbles form around the edges (see notes). Cover to keep warm. Have broth ready close to room temperature. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan, then add onions and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour and mustard powder and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat, slowly whisk in milk until incorporated (see note—no need to rush or panic), then whisk in broth. Increase heat to medium high so the sauce comes to a simmer (turn down heat if it starts to simmer really rapidly), then simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. When sauce is done, turn off heat and stir in celery, 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste), and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix broccoli and rice together in the casserole dish used to roast the broccoli. Pour sauce over then stir to incorporate. Top with grated cheddar. Bake at 375 on middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is melted. Broil the cheese for a few minutes at the end to brown the cheese, if desired.
  5. Let stand for a couple minutes, but serve hot so the cheese doesn't firm up.
Notes
To substitute stock for broth, strain ⅓ C through cheesecloth or a coffee filter, then mix with ⅓ C water.

When adding liquid to the roux, it’s easiest to be able to hold the pan when both pouring and whisking. Unless you have 3 hands, here’s how to do it: drizzle in a quarter of the milk, put the pan with the milk down, then whisk to completely incorporate. Repeat three times, alternating your “good” hand between holding the pan while you pour and using it to whisk. Don’t be afraid to take your time. The roux and milk won’t go bad if you have the heat off for 5 minutes. It’s harder to ruin than you think.

Of the cook time, 25 minutes is included for cooking the rice. Total time will be shorter if you cook the rice in advance.

Except for the residual oil from the broccoli, there's no need to grease the pan. I actually forgot the first time (using a glass pan), but nothing stuck.
Recipe by Natural Comfort Kitchen at http://www.naturalcomfortkitchen.com/broccoli-cheddar-wild-rice-bake/