For my family down in Georgia, broccoli cheese rice casserole is air. We inhale it every Thanksgiving and live off the leftovers for days. It's the best kind of dish; you've got all your major food groups: broccoli (veg), cheese (protein), and rice (love) ... or at least that's what we tell ourselves. Anyway, we only make it once or twice a year for the holidays, which is probably why it's so precious to us. This year, I thought I'd take my Aunt Anne's original recipe and spread it out onto a sheet pan for extra crisp and chew (those are the best parts). Broccoli cheese rice casserole is easily one of the most comforting side dishes to go alongside everything else, and it could even replace the stuffing should you be so bold as to do that. Or if you're like my family, for whom rice is king, then this may supersede the turkey as your table's centerpiece. —Eric Kim
Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet, then sauté onion with a pinch of salt and teaspoon of sugar for a good 15 to 20 minutes, until caramelized. Add bread to the buttery onions and sauté for another 10 minutes, until slightly toasted. Set aside.
In a very large bowl, toss together the rice, frozen broccoli, cheese, sour cream, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and buttery onion-bread mixture until well mixed. Spread into an olive oil–greased half sheet pan, then sprinkle top with panko and a light dusting of Parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and slightly browned at the edges.
Do Ahead: You can prep the casserole completely in advance and freeze it or fridge it. Just add a few minutes to the bake time when you're ready to cook it.
Eric Kim is a senior editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.