So I’ve cautiously planted a few things this year… useful things. Herbs. This is my first shot at eating something I’ve grown and, as of this morning, the herbs were still alive (victoreeeeeeeyyyy!). Though the herbs aren’t dead, I’ve formed a bad habit of tending to but not using them- and what’s the point of that?! Sheesh. I decided to make this casserole to pick some thyme and let it do it’s thing. To give it its thyme to shine, if you will (yuk yuk yuk).
Here are the products of my attempt at green thumbing-it. Irises I didn’t plant, the suspiciously healthy herbs, succulents that survive in desert conditions, coreopsis and other native plants that were the lone survivors of a Washington University drought experiment (thanks, Julie!), and basil, which would probably grow in a highway ditch.
Stand back. I am a master gardener.
To use my homegrown, real-life, big girl thyme and combine my love of grains, casseroles, and veggies, I made this delicious fare last night. Largely based on Heidi Swanson’s wild rice casserole (I know, I know, I keep coming back to Heidi), I added more dairy and waaay more veggies to make this a hearty and filling vegetarian side. Served with greens, another veggie, or with salmon as Dave enjoyed it, it’s a main dish. It’s quite tasty and addictive- I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
BROCCOLI WILD RICE CASSEROLE
Inspired by Heidi Swanson
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 eggs
- 8 oz cottage cheese
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk or cream
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- 5-6 cremini mushrooms, diced
- half a large yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
- 3 cloves fresh garlic or 4-5 cloves roasted garlic
- 3 leaves kale, ribbed and cut into ribbons
- 1 small head broccoli, stems diced and florets cut into quarters
To cook the wild rice: in a small stockpot, add the wild rice, water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is chewy. You may need to drain this, depending on how temperamental and stubborn your rice is. Set aside!
As the rice cooks, heat the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan. Add your pre-chopped veggies and sauté in this order:
- carrots, mushrooms, thyme, onion, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt for 3 minutes
- add kale and broccoli, cook another 2 minutes
- add celery and garlic, cook 2 minutes more
- your kitchen smells amazing now.
Set the veggies aside or just scoot the pan to a cold burner. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, milk, and as much pepper as you’d like. You can whisk in the last 1/2 tsp salt here or omit it altogether.
Preheat your oven to 350. Using a bit more olive oil or some butter, grease a casserole dish. I used a large Corningware but a 9X9 would work well here, or even a 9×13. Fold the rice into the dairy and egg mixture and then fold in the veggies.
Pour the rice and veggie mix into the greased casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 20-25 minutes depending on the depth of your casserole dish. You want the casserole to be heated through and the top to be golden brown. All done! Let cool slightly and serve!