I love cauliflower cheese. I really, really love it. But it's only so often I fancy a meal that's basically one vegetable, so I don't make it very much. That's probably good for my waistline, but still... this time I wanted cauliflower cheese, but I wanted it better.
How do you make a vegetable dish better? Adding more vegetables seems like a good start. Cauliflower is wonderful, but I wanted a bit of extra colour. Carrots and broccoli both have a firm texture that I thought would work well when smothered in cheese.
Putting a healthy dollop of mustard into the cheese sauce really brings all the flavours out, but of course, if you hate mustard you could skip it. I like to use a really strong cheese, so I can get away with using less of it - even with a mature cheddar, this isn't exactly health food (although ironically, at 550 calories per serving, it's only a few tweaks away from being a 5:2 fast meal! Split it three ways and it's well within bounds).
This worked out so beautifully that I can't imagine I'm going to make plain, traditional cauliflower cheese again.
Cauliflower Cheese Recipe
Serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish)
500g cauliflower florets
100g broccoli florets
1 medium carrot (100g)
For the cheese sauce:
200ml full-fat milk
2tsp wholegrain mustard
100g mature cheddar cheese + 20g for sprinkling
- Chop the cauliflower and broccoli into large florets, and the carrot into small pieces (approx. 1cm cubed)
- Steam the vegetables to an al dente texture. I find it takes approx. 10 mins for cauliflower & carrot, 5 mins for broccoli, but the timings will depend on your steamer. (If you don't have a steamer, you could boil or even microwave the veggies instead.)
- While the vegetables are cooking, make the cheese sauce. Begin by melting the butter in a large saucepan.
- Add the flour and stir to coat in butter. Cook for a couple of minutes over a low heat, to form a roux.
- Add the milk, and stir to break up any lumps.
- Season with mustard and pepper.
- Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly. After a couple of minutes, the sauce should thicken. Once it reaches the consistency you like, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese (remembering to keep a little back for the topping).
- Stir the vegetables into the cheese sauce until lightly coated.
- Arrange the vegetables on an oven-proof dish, and sprinkle the extra cheese on top.
- Place under a hot grill for a few minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.
- Serve piping hot, fresh from the grill.