Twice-Cooked Broccoli

I found this recipe written on a torn-off sheet from a daily calendar dated 10 March 1984. There are only four steps to make this, and combined with the 4 ingredients, it makes for a pretty easy side dish, or dinner if you live in our house. (As an aside, we've realised lately that we eat a lot of broccoli in this house, and often end up eating an entire head of broccoli with dinner, which seems both strange and unlikely, considering I was once the child who refused broccoli unless topped with-- ahem-- American cheese.)

Anyway, sometimes there’s nothing quite so exciting as a vegetable side dish, especially if you’re in the throes of Christmas baking and have eaten nothing but sweets for weeks on end, and especially if you've been making lots of complicated candy recipes that require particular temperatures, specific timings, and detailed ingredient lists… which is why I was so excited to make this broccoli dish after the Christmas holidays.

We don't do a lot of variety when it comes to vegetables in this house—or at least we didn't until I started this blog—but this time of year it’s nice to have something to vary up the ‘roasted veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper’ that is our mainstay side dish during winter months, and this casserole definitely does that... even if it does so at the cost of upping the butter content. So I was happy to make this, even if it does involve soup mix and butter, both ingredients I contend are not necessary for making veggies tasty and nutritious. I broke my own rules and mixed it up a little when I realised I had bought fresh broccoli instead of frozen, but if the produce section at your local supermarket is as empty as mine has been recently, then no one is going to bat an eye if you use frozen. Also, I looked everywhere in Edinburgh and couldn't find water chestnuts, so for the love of all things good, if you know where I could procure some in this country, please let me know! In their absence, we used celery, which didn't stay as crisp as water chestnuts would have, but it added a nice texture and flavour, so I regret nothing.

It’s not glamorous and it sure is a pain to photograph, but this recipe is tasty and easy, and since we’re always looking for new ways to eat an entire head of broccoli for dinner, this one definitely fits the bill. Note that in the ingredients below I lowered the butter levels to a more manageable amount that's less likely to give you a coronary and also more likely to allow you to eat this as your main course later this week. It's that good.

the verdict:

3 spoons out of five. This is super tasty and definitely easy. It'll become a go-to for us over the next few months, I'm sure!

the recipe:

Twice-Cooked Broccoli

the directions:

Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
Steam fresh broccoli until green but still firm (if using frozen, saute without salt and drain).
Combine steamed broccoli and water chestnuts or celery in an oven-safe dish, then dot with butter.
Sprinkle onion soup mix over the dish and toss slightly to coat.
Bake 25 minutes or until veggies are tender.

the ingredients:

2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets (or equivalent in frozen broccoli)
1 c water chestnuts or coarsely sliced celery
2 tablespoons butter (or 1 tablespoon olive oil/1 tablespoon butter)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix