Photographer and Alabamian Robert Rausch grew up eating vegetable casseroles—he and his mother are both vegetarians. The broccoli casserole his family ate is a step up from the standard church cookbook recipe, which calls for using canned mushroom soup: In place of that, he uses wild mushrooms. He still relies on Ritz crackers, though, for the crispy, buttery topping.
More Casserole Recipes
3/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini and shiitake, stemmed and quartered
1 stick unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted
1 large onion, minced
4 large celery ribs, finely diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 pounds broccoli—heads cut into 1-inch florets, stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until coarsely chopped. In a large saucepan, melt the stick of butter. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until their liquid evaporates and they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until the mixture is very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl to let cool, then stir in the mayonnaise.
Arrange the broccoli florets and stems in a large steamer basket and steam until barely crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli to the mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour in the broccoli-mushroom mixture, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle the cheese on top. In a small bowl, toss the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and scatter them over the casserole. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for about 40 minutes longer, until the topping is golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The baked casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.
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