Before moving to Minnesota the only things I knew about this state was: Mall of America, frigid winters, tall good-looking Vikings men and wild rice. And I was not wrong. The Mall is here and it’s BIG! Winters are cold and long but secretly fun. There are lots of good-looking Minnesotans of Scandinavian decent. Lucky me I found my very own to keep 😉 And yes wild rice is native to Minnesota and the Great Lakes. Cool huh?!
In honor of this great state that taught me how to “man up” in the winter, introduced me to my hunky Scandinavian husband and has given me countless incredible summers at the lake, I made a wild rice casserole tonight.
Broccoli + Cheese Sauce + Wild Rice = GOAL!!!!! Oh sorry no soccer here, scratch that: TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!
Broccoli and Cheese Wild Rice Casserole
Easy and adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Broccoli Cheddar Wild Rice
*Notes: I used regular wild rice, not a blend. If you want to use a wild rice blend, follow the instructions on the package when cooking the rice. I love picking up the Trader Joe’s wild rice. It is affordable and plentiful.
The casserole is broccoli heavy, so if you want to make it less green (say for little kiddos) use less than a pound of broccoli or just omit using the stems.
The cheese combination ideal for this recipe is some mild cheddar and some gruyere. I love buying Trader Joe’s Gruyere/Cheddar Cheese. It’s a block of cheese that is a gruyere and cheddar mix all in one! It’s perfect. However feel free to use 4 ounces of cheddar and 4 of gruyere. However since gruyere can sometimes be hard to find and pricey, this recipe is absolutely perfect with simply cheddar. If using only cheddar, I would recommend finding a sharper cheddar to give the casserole a sharper edge.
Serves: 3-4; I serve it up with a side salad and bread.
- 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice*
- 2 cups water
- 1 lbs broccoli, cut into 1 inch florets, stem peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks*
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated*
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated *
- Salt and pepper
Rinse rice thoroughly, then drain. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add a few pinches of salt. Add rice, cover and return to a boil. Then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice cracks and is tender. Drain off any excess cooking liquid and set aside. Rice can be made up to a 5 days in advance.
While rice cooks, cut broccoli florets into 1-inch pieces. Peel broccoli stems and dice them into large chunks. Cook in boiling, well-salted water for 3 minutes, then drain.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a cast iron skillet or medium saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour, a pinch of cayenne and whisk until combined, cooking the butter-flour mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Warm the milk. Slowly drizzle in warm milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring the whole time, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in smooth Dijon mustard.
Remove pan from heat and stir in half of the cheddar and gruyere amounts until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Combine cooked wild rice blend and broccoli in the cast iron skillet or in a 2-quart baking dish or an 8 X 8 inch baking dish. Mix well to make sure cheese sauce is coating everything. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
Bake casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, then let casserole sit under broiler until cheese is golden and toasty. Enjoy with some bread and a side salad. Warning casserole will be hot hot hot…
Don’t forget: This recipe can be made in advance and saved for up to a week. Yep you guessed it, it freezes awesome and makes a killer work lunch. Also feel free to swap broccoli out for cauliflower.