Servings: 6 Prep: 10 min Cook: 35 min Total: 45 min
These “au gratin” recipes worried me a little bit. These are often made with a béchamel (a sauce thickened with flour), and … between you and I … flour is bad. Oh what to do?!
Essentially, you would slightly cook the broccoli, then cool it in ice water. This will help it stay green, but also let it cook through and be nice and soft and cheesy. Then, reduce some cream, whisk your cheese, ham and mustard into it and season with a little salt and pepper. Then, add your broccoli, stir, add to a baking pan and … bake! Once the top starts to get a little crispity, remove it from the oven and … enjoy it!
Needless to say … I was pleasantly surprised. Didn’t take long to make, looked great and tasted even better! YUM!
Note: I’m a big fan of broccoli stems. When you cut the florets off of the large broccoli trunk, you’re left with something that looks like what the Jolly Green Giant might use for lumber, if he were a very very small giant. Cut off the bigger branches, then with a vegetable peeler, peel the hard fibrous skin on the outside. You’ll eventually get a a beautiful, bright, almost white green core. This is the “broccoli heart” and it’s delicious! Cut the center core into pieces about the same size as the florets and cook it right along with them. Enjoy!
Broccoli, Ham and Dijon "Au Gratin"Print Rate
- 1 cup cream heavy whipping
- 1 large bunch broccoli including stalks, cut into florets
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard whole grain
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar/colby cheese blend shredded and 1/2 cup set aside
- 1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
- 1/4 lb ham or Canadian bacon cut into small cubes
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F.
- Place your heavy cream on the stove over medium-low heat. Bring to a low simmer and allow to reduce by about half. Be careful to watch the pot. Do not let it boil over.
- While the cream is reducing, bring some salt water to a boil in a soup pot.
- Add your broccoli to the salted boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Strain and immediately plunge into ice water. Leave the broccoli in the ice water, until chilled through. This act will help the broccoli stay green.
- Once the broccoli is chilled, remove and let it drain and dry. Placing on a towel to remove excess moisture is a good idea. (Alternately, you can just use frozen broccoli, and add it to the recipe, at this point)
- Whisk the Dijon mustard into the cream.
- In a bowl, add 1 cup of grated cheese. Evenly dust the guar and xanthan gums over the cheese. Add the diced ham to the cheese and gums and mix. This process will help the gums be mixed into the cream, without clumping. (the gums are flavorless, but help the sauce thicken. If you don't use them, don't worry about it. Your sauce will be a little loose, but still very very delicious)
- Whisk the cheese and ham mixture into the cream, until completely melted and a nice thick sauce has been made.
- Add the cool dry broccoli to the sauce and stir until broccoli is coated.
- Add the mixture to a pie tin or baking pan.
- Bake until the top is browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
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