Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Gratin with Crisp Almonds

January 15, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Let's face it, gratin is just a fancy name for all of those casseroles Mom used to make, good or bad. I remember a broccoli, cheddar cheese and rice casserole that my Mom used to make. Unfortunately, my Mom wasn't that good of a cook. From what I can remember it was your typical Junior League Cookbook fare, which- growing up down South- meant the trifecta: mayonnaise, cheese and a crumbled Ritz cracker topping. Despite it all, I rememeber this dish because I loved it. So I decided that it was time for an update... —Chef James

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cups chopped bacon (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup onion, small dice
  • 1 cup broccoli stems, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1.5 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 bone-in chicken breast
  • 2.5 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 0.5 cups sliced almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 325?. Combine the butter and chopped bacon in saucepot. Cook over a medium until the bacon is browned and rendered. Add the onions and broccoli; sweat until tender. Add the rice and saute briefly to coat with the fat. Add the stock, stir thoroughly and bring the mixture to a simmer. DO NOT stir again. Cover with a lid and place in oven for 12 minutes. Remove the rice from the oven and turn out into a gratin or casserole dish. Spread into the thinnest layer possible and cool completely.
  2. Blanch the broccoli to tender, refresh under cold water and set aside to drain completely.
  3. Roast or poach the chicken breast to cook through. Discard the skin and pull all of the meat from the bones.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and mustard. Add the chicken, rice and cheese. Mix well, season to taste and return to the gratin dish. Spread into an even layer in the dish, cover with the almonds. Bake in a preheated 425? oven for 7-10 until well browned on top and bubbling.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Eric Wilcox
    Eric Wilcox
  • Lauren Balog
    Lauren Balog
  • Brunch Drunk Love
    Brunch Drunk Love
  • pamelalee
  • Chef James
    Chef James

14 Reviews

Eric W. April 24, 2019
Delicious end result but I think the recipe could have been laid out in a clearer fashion. Biggest issue is that long grain rice doesn't cook in 20 minutes! I ended up leaving it in the oven for over 40 minutes, at which point the rice finally cooked and the top started to brown. Even after that, I still ran it under the broiler for a couple minutes to properly brown the top.

Just add some clarification and this would be a great recipe.
Lauren B. June 14, 2018
I made this the other night and wow does it impress - used slivered almonds instead of sliced and it really upped the texture. Blew my broccoli and cheese rice expectations out of the water as well as my sister-in-law's - this recipe is official in my house.
Eric W. April 24, 2019
What was your total cook time? And what type of rice did you use?

Love the meal itself but could use a clearer recipe!
Lorrie H. April 14, 2020
I thought the recipe was too vague too. So I used cooked Jasmine rice and then added broth to the sauteed bacon and onions. It was fabulous. took about 40 min. to cook in the oven after everything was combined. Next time I will make a pilaf that is a little wet and then add the other ingredients. I also used boneless chicken thighs and less cheese. I guess I kinda redid the whole thing but, it didn't make sense as written to me.
soleilnyc March 4, 2014
The instructions for the broccoli are confusing. Broccoli stems, I'm assuming go in the rice in the oven. Then the florets are blanched, but then not addressed later in the recipe. Are they layered in? Mixed in?
Erika K. August 7, 2014
I made this last night and my family loved it. Used up some shredded chicken from burrito-making along with some pre-made Mexican rice. I just threw in the broccoli florets at the very end, before baking. It was really good! I'll use less liquid next time.
Kelly D. November 22, 2013
Made this for dinner. My husband and I both had seconds. It's really hard to stop eating!! It's a new dinner staple in our house now. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!
Brunch D. November 17, 2013
I adapted this recipe to make it a little healthier and it was fantastic! Even the meat loving guys helped themselves to seconds and thirds. I started with a mirepoix, fresh rosemary and dried oregano & dill. Then I toasted brown rice in the pan (which gave it such a nice chewy texture) and added the chicken stock but alas, my pot isn't oven safe so I just cooked it on the stove instead. I threw in the broccoli florets at the last minute. For the wet ingredients, I used almond milk instead and substituted cubed tofu for chicken. I also added a small "personal size" container of non fat greek yogurt to bulk up the protein and a couple shakes of nutmeg. I stuck with the extra sharp cheddar cheese though. I did have to increase the cooking time which I think was due in part to the extra moisture released by the tofu. Next time I might just decrease the amount of "milk" all together. For the crunchy topping I added spiced pepitas to one casserole dish and crispy wonton strips to the other per my roommates request - the pepita covered one was definitely better ;)

I will definitely be making this again!
pamelalee November 7, 2011
I made this for dinner last night, and it was delicious. My husband is not a broccoli fan, so it was a nice way to slip in this veggie. I liked that you included the stems as well as the florets. (Actually, that's my favorite part of broccoli....I trim off the outer skin,, slice them diagonally, and munch on them raw.) We also loved the addition of bacon. As AntoniaJames suggested, I used brown rice and increased the cooking time in step 1 to 35 minutes.
MmmmFood! August 25, 2011
Ooo! This looks like the perfect recipe to get rid of all the broccoli we got in our CSA this week. And I'll bet I can put it all together, bake half and freeze half of it for later. Thanks for sharing.
Chef J. January 16, 2010
Hmmm, if you could find any cheddar it would be fine. But if I were in France, I'd make this with a creamy goat cheese or a mild gruyere. Where in France are you?
Babette's F. January 16, 2010
Great recipe, thanks for posting. Do you know what a sharp cheddar cheese would be in France?
soleilnyc March 4, 2014
A mimolette, maybe?
AntoniaJames January 15, 2010
Mmmm, this looks like good, honest comfort food. I'm making this next week but will defy the Junior League a bit more, and use brown rice, because I know it will taste even better . . . Thank you so much for posting this!