With the holiday season upon us, we, like you, get invited to various parties. Most seem to center around food, and they are often potluck-type affairs, which allows us to taste a bunch of new things and maybe get ideas for future dinners. At the very least, we get some really good food, and we try to bring the same. To the party we attended yesterday, we brought a Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Pie. We like it because it’s pretty easy, travels well, and it’s a bit different from most casseroles. And it’s really tasty, too.
We’ve modified the recipe from the original Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Basically, we changed it to half broccoli and half cauliflower. And please note that all the photos are for a pie that is double this recipe; it was for a potluck.
For the crust:
- Unsalted butter (for greasing the pan)
- 2 cups raw potato, peeled and grated
- 1/4 cup onion, grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs flour (omit to make gluten free)
- Olive oil (for brushing the crust)
For the filling:
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 medium cauliflower, coarsely chopped
- 1-2 stalks broccoli, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
Ingredient discussion: Peeling potatoes – you really should if they are non-organic. Potatoes are one of the crops on the “dirty dozen” list, indicating that they are heavily contaminated with pesticides. Choose a cheese you like to eat, and, since you’ll be baking this dish, feel free to select for a stronger-flavored cheese. We used an aged raw-milk Cheddar. Eggs: free range all the way, baby.
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Butter a shallow 9-inch baking dish. Use about 1/2 Tbs, and use butter, not margarine or shortening. While you might not notice in this dish, butter just tastes better.
Combine the crust ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potato, onion, egg, salt, and flour (if using), and mix well.
Line the baking dish with the potato mixture. Use a rubber spatula, or a spoon, or even your hands, to spread the potato mixture evenly in the buttered dish. Play patty-cake and pat it down, but get the soon-to-be-crust to go up the sides, too.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Brush with olive oil. No, this and the previous instruction are not reversed. You do want to bake the crust, then apply some olive oil, then it’s back in the oven.
Bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. We just put it on a cooling rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
Make the filling:
Prep the filling vegetables: slice the onion, chop the garlic, cut up the cauliflower and broccoli.
Heat the olive oil. In a large sauté pan on medium heat, heat the olive oil until it is hot. You want the onions to sizzle when you drop them in the pan. We often take a slice of onion and just hold it in the oil to see if it is hot enough.
Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. Saute for about 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the cauliflower and broccoli, and cook for about 5 minutes more or until the cauliflower and broccoli are tender.
Now assemble the pie.
Cover the crust with cheese. Spread half of the cheese on the potato crust so it’s pretty evenly coated. By letting the crust sit, it’s cool enough that the cheese doesn’t immediately melt.
Add the broccoli and cauliflower mixture. Just spoon it in, and tamp it down a bit. Ideally, your vegetables should come up to the top edge of the crust.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Add the eggs and milk. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a small bowl, and pour over the top. It should come up to the very top of the veggies. If not, no worries.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the eggs have set, and the top is a nice golden brown.
Take it out and serve. Looks delish, doesn’t it? (It tastes pretty good, too).
Since this recipe is a bit more involved, we’ll have to give it four stars in the “worth it?” rating. The upside is that it is nearly a complete meal or will be once you add a nice salad, and a small light dessert.