"Simply Scratch" recipes from Laurie McNamara

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These recipes comes courtesy of "Simply Scratch" author, Laurie McNamara. 
 
HOMEMADE BROCCOLI CASSEROLE 
Yield: about 6 to 8
Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: about 50 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS
2-1/2 tablespoons butter (divided)
12 to 14 ounces fresh broccoli florets
1 large egg
1 recipe homemade cream of mushroom soup (see below)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated baby Swiss cheese (using the larges holes on box grater)
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups (eye ball it) hand-torn sourdough bread
1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts (optional)
 
DIRECTIONS:
Position your oven rack in the lower third portion of your oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a 1.5 to 2 quart baking dish.
Place broccoli florets in to a steamer basket. Bring a pot filled with an inch or two of water to a boil. Set the basket into a pot (water should not touch the bottom of the basket), cover and steam the broccoli for 10 minutes. Once steamed, transfer broccoli to a large bowl to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl lightly beat the egg. Add in homemade cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Set off to the side.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep-sided 10-inch skillet. Add onions and a pinch of kosher salt, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked onions to the bowl with the broccoli.
Add 1-1/2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon oil to the pan that cooked the onions, add 2 to 3 cups of torn sourdough bread and toss to coat. Toast the bread pieces for 5 to 6 minutes over medium-low until lightly golden and slightly crispy. (These will further crispy in oven)
Pour in the soup/egg mixture, the grated Swiss and use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients. Spoon broccoli mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread pieces. 
Slide the casserole into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
 
 
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP 
Makes 1 cup ( the equivalent of 1 can of store-bought condensed soup)
TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES
 
INGREDIENTS:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
½ cup minced cremini mushrooms
2½ tablespoons unbleached all- purpose flour
½ cup Vegetable Broth (see below)
½ cup whole milk
Pinch of kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
 
DIRECTIONS:
In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot, stir, and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until just soft .
Add the mushrooms, stir, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Sprinkle in the fl our and cook for a minute or two. While whisking, pour in the vegetable broth and whole milk and continue whisking until smooth.
Simmer until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
 
 
VEGETABLE BROTH
MAKES 10 - 11 CUPS  TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES
 
INGREDIENTS:
4 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth and left whole
3 celery stalks, plus any leafy tops, coarsely chopped
2 parsnips, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, unpeeled, cut into eighths
1 leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped and soaked in cold water to remove any sand or grit
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10 to 12 sprigs fresh parsley
14 whole black peppercorns
 
DIRECTIONS:
 Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Pour in 12 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
 Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl. Slowly pour the broth through the sieve to strain out the herbs and veggies. Discard the solids in the sieve.
 Let the broth cool before storing.
 
SIMPLY SCRATCH TIP:
To defrost broth, heat on low in the microwave or run lukewarm water over the top of the container until thawed. For smaller broth portions, spoon a few tablespoons of broth into ice cube trays and freeze. Remove and store in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag.
 
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