This is a variation of the recipe I make for Thanksgiving. I was at the grocery store the other day and they had the most beautiful broccoli tops – I just couldn’t resist getting several bunches of them. Then I realized, what was I going to do with all that broccoli? So I wandered around the store and passed the cheese department. Now, I love blue cheese but I know that many out there don’t, so don’t run away yet – read on just a bit more.
In my opinion broccoli and blue cheese are meant for each other. However, the blue cheese is just an accent not the main player in the sauce. It’s one of those combos like putting a bit of coffee in chocolate or nutmeg in a cream sauce. The blue cheese brings out the broccoli in broccoli. So while this recipe does use blue cheese it also includes a mild and creamy version of a Gouda cheese.
- 3 large bunches of broccoli
- ½ large, red onion
- ½ cup chopped leaks
- 4 green onions
- 7 oz blue cheese
- 8 oz Coolea Cheese (from Ireland)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons butter (for the cheese sauce)
- 8 tablespoons butter (for cooking the vegetables)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Dash of nutmeg (fresh ground)
- I started by melting a stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a small stock pot and then adding the olive oil to it.
- Then I chopped the onions and leaks, adding them to the stock pot along with a few grinds of Kosher salt.
- The broccoli is next. You can eat the stems too, not just the flowerets, as long as they are tender and not woody. I chopped the stems into small pieces and added them to the stockpot.
- I broke the flowerets up into small pieces and added them last to the stockpot along with the coriander.
- Cook over low heat.
- Here’s what it looked like:
Anytime you are making a Roux the rule of thumb is for every cup of liquid you use two tablespoons of fat and flour. So for my 3 cups of liquid I used 6 tablespoons of butter and 6 tablespoons of flour.
- Measure your liquids and have them standing by.
- Cut cheese into small chunks.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot. Be sure to let the butter cook for a couple of minutes until the water is mostly cooked off. You can see the butter bubbling in this picture – that is the water cooking off:
- Be careful not to overcook the butter, it just takes a couple of minutes. If it starts to smell a bit nutty then you are ready to add the flour.
- Wisk well together until all the four is blended in and allow it to cook for at least 2 minutes. If you don’t your sauce will taste like flour.
- With wisk in one hand, add the liquid to the roux, stirring constantly.
- Allow the sauce to heat for a few minutes and then slowly start adding the cheese. You don’t want to dump it all in at once or it will cool the sauce off too much.
- Continue stirring and adding cheese until everything is melted.
- Add some fresh ground nutmeg and cook for another minute.
- Pour some of the cheese sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Add more cheese sauce until you have a nice balance.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is a light, golden brown.
I had lots of cheese sauce left over but I just put it in a container and froze it for future use.
You can use any mild, creamy cheese along with the blue cheese. I would not use any sharp or tangy cheeses as the blue cheese is sharp and tangy enough. You can also put panko bread crumbs or cracker crumbs over the top of the casserole before you put it in the oven.
All in all this is a tasty casserole and it freezes well if you want to make a large batch and put some aside for another day. My brother got me started with the FoodSaver system and I love it. I’ve pulled out stuff that has been in the freezer for 4 years and it’s as fresh as the day I put it in there.