Dinner Tonight: Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I've experimented with baked potato toppings before but was feeling a little uninspired this time around. Looking for ideas, I turned to Twitter. As it turns out, people are awfully passionate about baked potato toppings.

One surprising tweet response came from the wonderful Chicago restaurant, The Publican (@thepublican2008).

@nickdk bacon and chives would be our cooks normal faves, but broccoli and cheddar rules!

If you've ever managed to eat there, you know it's best to follow any advice they give you. No matter what. I've had many bacon-and-chive-loaded potatoes in my day, so I decided to take a chance with this broccoli and cheddar version. I'd probably never attempt a broccoli and cheese dish had the Publican not recommended it, but that's just how much I trust them.

The restaurant indeed gave me inspiration, but what I really needed was a recipe. Thus began my tortured search for a simple and delicious broccoli and cheese recipe. Most queries either took me to broccoli and cheddar soup or were too fancy, deconstructing the dish beyond recognition. Thankfully this recipe from Whole Foods is both accessible and inspired.

Dinner Tonight: Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar

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About This Recipe

Yield:4
This recipe appears in: What to Eat and Drink on St. Patrick's Day

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • Canola oil
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt
  • White or black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the potatoes in a little canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss in the oven and cook for about an hour, until tender.

  2. 2

    When the potatoes are about ten minutes from being done, pour one inch of water into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket and place it over the boiling water. Cover the pot and steam for about four minutes, until the broccoli are bright green and tender.

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, toss the butter in to a saucepan over medium-low heat. When melted, add the flour and mustard powder. Whisk until there are no more lumps, which should take about a minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking until it thickens up. Add the cheese, and stir until it has melted. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

  4. 4

    Dump the broccoli into the cheese sauce, and stir until well coated.

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