This simple recipe combines hash brown potatoes, cheese, and gravy into a yummy casserole. Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole is my husband's current favorite lunch to take along to the office. I make a large batch and freeze single-serving portions in 2-cup glass Pyrex storage dishes, which he then re-heats in a toaster oven at work. He eats this as a main course for lunch, but it also makes a delicious side dish at any time of day.
Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, preferably of the rich yellow nutrient-dense dense type
1 large yellow onion, chopped small
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1&1/2 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
2/3 cups whole milk
6 Tb white rice flour*
16 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
Two-16 ounce bags of organic frozen hashbrowns (regular and southern-style both work fine; I use either Cascadia Farms or Sno-Pac Southern Style Organic has browns)
Melt the butter in a very large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for about 10-15 minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft. I like to use a bamboo spatula to saute the onion. It's okay if the onion takes on a bit of brown, caramelized color while cooking.
In the meantime, mince the garlic. Shred the cheese using the large side of a box grater.
Combine the milk, broth, and salt in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the onion is done, add the minced garlic and saute just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the rice flour over the onions and saute for a few minutes more.
Stir the broth and milk mixture into the pan with the onion. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. This mixture will get rather thick because of the rice flour, but that is just what it should do. Turn off the heat.
Fold the frozen hash browns into the onion/gravy mixture. If you did not use a very large skillet, you may need to use a large bowl for this.
In a 9X13 glass baking dish, layer half of the hash brown mixture, then half of the shredded cheese, then the remaining hash brown mixture, and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned. If desired, the broiler can be turned on for the last 3-5 minutes to brown the cheese, but watch it carefully as it can burn easily with the broiler on!
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
*If you want to know more about why I use white rice instead of brown, check out this article.
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