Jeanette's Famous Broccoli and Crouton Casserole, Rachaelmagized

Heads up: This recipe requires a portion of the Cream of Celery soup you made earlier this week (recipe follows).

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
10 min
1 hr 5 min

Serves 6

  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Black pepper
  • About 6 cups cubed stale white bread, such as Amy's, enough to fill a large casserole dish
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt
  • 1 large or 2 medium heads broccoli, cut into thin florets
  • 5 to 6 cups poached chicken (4 poached breasts, reserved from making Poached Chicken for Celery Soup earlier in the week, recipe follows), pulled apart or chopped
  • 3 to 4 cups Cream of Celery soup (reserved from earlier in the week, recipe follows)
  • Cream of Celery Soup
  • Poached Chicken:
  • (The chicken meat will be reserved for another meal and the stock is for this soup recipe. If not preparing Broccoli Casserole, use 6 cups store-bought chicken stock.)
  • 2 full bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 onion, quartered, root end attached
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Bundle of parsley, thyme, fresh bay leaf
  • A few black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Soup:
  • 1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons), diced
  • 1 bunch organic celery with leafy tops, chopped (6 cups)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium celery roots (celeriac), peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Heat EVOO over medium heat in saute pan. Add the butter to the oil and when it foams, add the garlic, thyme, parsley and pepper and swirl for 1 to 2 minutes. Place the bread in a large bowl and toss with the butter sauce and half the cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until deeply golden and crispy, 20 minutes. The croutons can be stored wrapped in foil at room temp or in an airtight container for several days.

  • Bring a couple of inches of water to boil in a deep skillet. Salt the water and add the broccoli. Cook to tender-crisp, 5 minutes; drain. The broccoli can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for several days.

  • To assemble and bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange the croutons in a dish. Top with the broccoli, chicken, soup and remaining 3/4 to 1 cup Parm. Bake until hot throughout and golden on top, 35 to 40 minutes.

  • For the poached chicken stock: Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, herb bundle, peppercorns and salt in a pot, cover with water and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 1 hour minimum. Cool the chicken in the broth. Remove the chicken and cool. Separate the meat and pull or chop into bite-size pieces. Reserve for the Broccoli Casserole preparation. The chicken can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for 4 days. Strain the stock and reserve for soup.

  • For the soup: Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and when it begins to foam, add the celery, onions and garlic; season with celery salt and pepper. Add the fresh bay leaf to pot, partially cover, and cook until very tender and soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Add the potatoes, celeriac and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low rolling boil and simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender. Cool the soup and store for a make-ahead meal.

  • Place the soup in a stockpot and stir in the cream. Bring to simmer and taste to adjust seasoning.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings (plus 3 to 4 cups to reserve for Broccoli Casserole)

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