The menu this week includes a comfort food favorite, perfect for the rainy season: Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Growing up, broccoli cheese casserole was a staple during the holidays. Our family recipe included both canned condensed soup and a jar of cheese whiz. Why mess with perfection, right? Now that I am pregnant with our first child, I am thinking more about what I am eating and while the appeal of an old family favorite is strong, I made a few changes to the recipe this week for a more dietetic result. One change being removing the canned condensed cream of onion soup. What is in those cans anyway? Well, take a look! Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Flavoring, Beta Carotene.. Why? WHY??
Why use all that when making your own is so easy and can be done with just your staple kitchen basics?
- olive or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (I used a vidalia onion)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is best!)
- 1/2 heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste
Start by fine dicing a medium onion and grating 2-3 cloves of garlic meanwhile heating a small amount of oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add the onion and cook on medium heat until soft (past translucent). Add the grated garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the onions and stir to integrate the butter throughout the onions and garlic. Once fully melted and well combined, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Combine well. This will form a paste-like mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes. This will ensure you don’t end of with a raw flour taste in the end.
Add in the 1/2 cup of chicken stock and stir until there are no more lumps. The mixture will be very thick.
Add in the 1/2 cup of heavy cream and stir until well mixed and there are no lumps.
Add salt and pepper to taste and voila! There you have it! Your cream of onion soup should be very thick. If you think it is too thick, you can add a little milk or more stock to thin it out.
Never add more flour if you think it is too thin. To thicken, increase the temperature and allow to reduce & thicken.
I suggest using immediately, but you can also jar and keep in the fridge for a day or 2.
You can also make this recipe using celery, mushroom, chicken, or whatever base you desire!