Food You Can Eat: Broccoli Casserole

Midcentury Madness

It's about as appetizing as it looks.

First things first:  I’ve avoided the casseroles for as long as I could, but now that I’m getting into them I’ve decided to go full tilt and just keep making them until I either run out of recipes or I get so sick of them I won’t be able to choke down another bite.  There’s no telling which will come first.

A caveat before we get started:  This recipe isn’t my grandmother’s per se, but is actually from her youngest daughter, who clearly was raised in the days when convenience foods were not considered the toxic waste that they actually are.  I did my best to mitigate that problem by using organic versions whenever possible.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Lb. Frozen Broccoli

1 Can Cream of Celery (or other) Soup

1 Cup Mayonnaise

1 Egg, beaten

2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded

¼ Cup Onion, chopped

4 Tbsp. Butter, melted

¼ Cup Ritz Cracker Crumbs

Cook broccoli and drain well.  Mix together soup, mayonnaise, egg, cheese and onion. 

Looks gross–and it is.

Fold in broccoli. 

Just fold it!

In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter and cracker crumbs.

I have a moral objection to using crackers as a garnish.

Pour into a 9” x 13” pan and sprinkle with cracker crumb mixture. 

I should have used a smaller pan.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.

It actually took 30 minutes–it’s a miracle!

This is…edible.  Will I make it again?  Absolutely not.

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11 Comments

  1. So many of those midcentury casseroles are like Mad Libs. “To ________ [vegetable] add 1 can _______ soup + _________ cheese which you have blended with _________. Hamburger optional.”

    I think we’ve all had broccoli in a cheese sauce, have we not, and maybe the cheese sauce came dry in a packet and you just added water and heated up in a saucepan? I think I’m going to do an FYCE on sauces, and plagiarize wildly from the queen of the authentic French sauces herself, Julia Child. A cheese sauce is a Sauce Mornay and to do that you make a béchamel and then add cheese. You can either add just Swiss cheese or 1/2 Swiss and 1/2 Parmesan. That’s it. So simple, so tasty, and so not-heart-healthy.

    • I learned not too long ago that  longtime convenience staple in Japan is premade roux, both plain and curry flavored. You just melt them and add whatever liquid to finish the sauce.

      Now that I think about it  I’m surprised someone like this wasn’t heavily marketed by someone like Land O Lakes. It must be trivial to manufacture and the quality must be better than condensed soups or jarred sauces, at least until the butter got replaced with margarine and the artificial flavors took over.

      • Knorr has a whole line of packaged sauces that even my subpar mid-price supermarket carries. I don’t know if they just have a roux, but they definitely have a hollandaise and a mornay.

        • Just looked it up and they seem to sell roux by the kilo for food service, but if they have a home version, they don’t market it much.

          Their Bearnaise has these ingredients which I’m guessing is not exactly the classic recipe.

          Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Whey Protein Concentrate (Milk), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Onion Powder, Salt, Spices, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Guar Gum, Paprika And Turmeric

          • It’s a simulacrum. Two hundred years from now, when we are living on a distant moon of Jupiter with Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and Keith Richards (who will all still be alive) that is Bearnaise as we’ll know it.

  2. I made a pasta bake with roasted vegetables last night (eggplant, sweet potato or squash, peppers). Not sure if that counts as a casserole. The cheese sauce is a white roux, with grated cheese, boursin, and whole grain mustard. It’s a satisfying Autumn meal. Sometimes I add chicken.

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