Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower Cheese – Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself!

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A cheese sauce full of flavour makes this cauliflower cheese absolutely gorgeous.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

Cauliflower has become a bit of a super-food in recent times. It’s the go-to vegetable for many a health conscious type. Cauliflower rice, roasted cauliflower etc. If you’re trying to reduce your carbs and be a bit healthier, it’s the veg for you. This recipe then, probably isn’t. This takes a healthy vegetable and covers it in a thick cheese sauce. And then smothers it in some more cheese. Healthy? Probably not. Delicious? Hell yeah!

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

I’ve been making this particular cauliflower cheese for many years now. The original recipe came from Delicious magazine. It’s not as straight forward a cheese sauce as my macaroni cheese, but it’s worth the extra effort (which is still fairly minimal – I’m not keen on effort).

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
500ml (1 pint) of milk
2 cloves
1 small onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
75g butter
50g plain flour
200g cheddar cheese, grated

1. Break your cauliflower up into florets of similar size (not too big).
Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

2. Place the florets in a microwaveable dish, add a couple tablespoons of water, and cook on full power for 8-10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through. It needs to be pretty much cooked since although you’ll be putting it in the oven later, I find it doesn’t really cook the cauliflower much more.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

If you don’t want to microwave it just pop the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water and cook until done (similar time).

3. Drain and leave the cauliflower uncovered to dry whilst you make the cheese sauce – this is important because you don’t want soggy cauliflower watering down your sauce.

4. In a small saucepan add the milk, cloves, onion and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, then take the pan off the heat, cover it and leave the milk to infuse for about 10 minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

5. Preheat your oven to 170°C (fan) / 325°F.

6. In a separate pan, over a medium low heat, melt the butter.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

7. Add the flour and stir through. Cook for a few minutes (to cook the flour).

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

8. Strain the hot infused milk (through a sieve) into the butter/flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

Over a low heat, stir the sauce with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens. This won’t take long because the milk was hot when added.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

9. Season with a little white pepper.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

10. Add the grated cheese, leaving a little to top the dish. Stir through until fully melted.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

11. Place the cauliflower in an ovenproof dish (I usually just use the dish I microwaved it in, but I was going for pretty pictures here so changed dishes). Pour over the cheese sauce so that every floret is covered, then top with the remaining grated cheese.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

 

12. Place on a tray in the oven (there’s a good chance it will bubble over the edge so the tray will save you cleaning your oven) and cook for 25-30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the melted cheese is lovely and golden.

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

13. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a few minutes to let it all come together. Then serve.

This cauliflower cheese is gorgeous served with roast gammon, or roast lamb. It’s equally good served with sausages for a simple meal. Or just serve it as the main dish. It’s that good. Whatever you do, give it a go and let me know what you think 🙂

Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

Happy cooking!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:60]

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Cauliflower Cheese - Florets of cauliflower smothered in a thick cheese sauce, topped with melted golden cheddar, this is the ultimate side dish, or a meal in itself! | thehecticcook.com

 

Author: Sarah Margetts

Busy mum of four, cooking up a storm.

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