Friday, January 22, 2016

Foodie Fridays: Roasted Potato and Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

A couple of weeks ago I watched Ree Drummond on The Pioneer Woman cooking show make a baked potato topped with broccoli in cheese sauce.  The cheesy broccoli looked delicious, but I am not a big fan of baked potatoes.  I did have some baby yellow potatoes in the house that I planned to roast, and I decided that roasted potatoes covered with cheesy broccoli would be a pretty good dinner on a cold and blustery January night.  Even better, I thought, would be a casserole combining these ingredients, and that is how this recipe was born.  It is obviously a very rich dish, but when the weather is as cold as it has been around here lately, this is the sort of meal that will really warm you up.

Roasted Potato and Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 C. milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
3 C. shredded cheese
1 bag (12 oz.) broccoli florets, cooked
1 bag (28 oz.) baby yellow potatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp. salt)
2/3 C. panko breadcrumbs
1 T. olive oil

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in the flour thoroughly and cook for about one minute.  Add the milk, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, whisking until well blended after each addition.  When all the milk is incorporated, whisk in the mustard and continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring continuously until the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the broccoli.  Cover the pot and set aside.

Toss together the potatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large baking pan until the vegetables are completely coated with the oil.  Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, tossing gently after 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and golden and the onions are just beginning to brown.  Remove from the oven and turn the temperature setting down to 350 degrees.

Put the roasted potatoes in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Gently reheat the broccoli and cheese sauce until smooth and warm, and pour over the potatoes.  Spread the cheese sauce evenly over the top of the potatoes, completely covering them.  Combine the panko and remaining olive oil in a small bowl and toss to coat the panko.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and the cheese sauce is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.

Notes: This is a good recipe for using up any leftover bits of cheese you have in the fridge.  We had a couple of slices of horseradish cheddar which I added to the sauce, and it gave a nice but not overwhelming bite to the dish.  I used a small packet of yellow mustard (the kind you get at fast food places) but any mustard will do.  There were a couple of packets of salad croutons lying around that did not get used in their intended salads, so I crushed those and used them in place of panko.  Get creative and throw in any leftovers you think might work!

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