Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cauliflower Cheese with the Easiest Cheese Sauce Ever

Put a cheese sauce on anything and it suddenly becomes the best thing ever to cross my lips!  I remember having broccoli with cheese sauce as a child - anything to get kids to eat their veggies - and loving it.  In England, cauliflower cheese has taken over the little green trees and is often present at a Sunday roast dinner.  My husband loves cauliflower but I'm not it's greatest fan.  A few weeks ago, in an effort to compromise (it's what marriage is all about, right?) I made cauliflower drowned in this wonderful (incredibly easy) cheese sauce.

Making a roux isn't as hard as one might think but that fancy French word is enough to put people off.  My aim here is to encourage cooking, full stop.  When I came across this recipe on the BBC Good Food website, I had to share it.  Anyone can make this - even the girl I once knew who boiled potatoes but forgot to put the water in and only realised when her house started to smell like burning (ok, maybe not ANYONE).  But if you can concentrate for 10 minutes, and stay by the stove, you can have a homemade cheese sauce in no time (well, in 10 minutes).

Basically, you whisk milk, flour and butter continuously until it melts and everything combines and thickens.  Then take it off the heat and stir in the cheese.  Done!  Pour it over the cooked cauliflower and bake in the oven until it bubbles and browns.  A delicious side dish to any meal.  And it doesn't hurt to score a few brownie points with the hubby (if I serve this with a steak - I'm golden!)

Cauliflower Cheese

1 head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
500ml milk
4 tbsp flour
50g butter
100g cheddar cheese, grated (I used a mixture of strong cheddar and 5 counties)
2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)

Boil or steam the cauliflower until cooked.  Place cooked cauliflower into an oven proof dish and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.  In a saucepan, add the milk, flour and butter and whisk quickly while slowly bringing the contents to a boil.  Everything will combine and the sauce will begin to thicken.  Continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes as the sauce becomes quite thick.  Remove from the heat and stir in most of the cheese.  Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, sprinkle the breadcrumbs (if using) and remaining cheese on top and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the dish has browned.

Adapted from BBC Good Food

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