I call this my mother’s ‘holiday’ broccoli casserole, because it usually made it’s appearance during holiday
meals. In fact, it was highly anticipated and expected during holiday meals. If it didn’t make its appearance during holiday meals, we might as well have canceled Christmas. As I mentioned in a post a long time ago, my mother doesn’t often cook, and when she does, she usually sticks to the things she makes well. In addition to her famous applesauce, this broccoli casserole is a true ‘signature’ dish. I am bias and definitely prejudiced when I say it’s phenomenal. But I mean it.
My family does not live together or even close together any more. We unfortunately don’t have the privilege to celebrate holidays together anymore. So we call each other, and wish happy holidays over the phone, and try to remember what family holidays are like together, as a family. And we talk about good memories, good times, and the things we enjoy about the holidays. For my sister and myself, the broccoli casserole, in a unique way, represents what we miss about those times. The smell of it cooking, the same yellow casserole my mother used year after year… It was better than the turkey! Of course there were a lot of other things, but holidays don’t seem the same without it. Anyway, in my case, during the holidays, that dish makes me miss my family. I’m posting the recipe in hopes that you will add another great dish to your ever-growing repertoire.
Regarding the recipe itself, you’ll find it very easy and hard to ruin. It’s truly a blast from the past, and as they say, classics are classics for a reason. It’s rich, flavorful, warm and works so well with holiday dinner. I hope you like it as much as we do!
My Mother’s Broccoli Casserole
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: About 8-10 portions
4 packs frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained (10oz ea)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 can campbells condensed cream of celery soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 sleeve original ritz crackers, smashed into crumbs
1 cup heavy mayonnaise
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Heat oven to 350. Mix everything well, except the crackers and butter. Use 1 tbsp of the butter to grease a casserole or dutch oven. Pour everything into the casserole, top with the ritz crackers and dot with butter. Bake until cooked through, bubbling and golden brown on top.
Let cool slightly and serve right away.