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
chopped bacon (2 ounces)
onion, small dice
broccoli stems, peeled and cut into small dice
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.
Blanch the broccoli to tender, refresh under cold water and set aside to drain completely.
Roast or poach the chicken breast to cook through. Discard the skin and pull all of the meat from the bones.
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.