Monday, February 3, 2014

Jamie Oliver's Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese

One of the first episodes of Save With Jamie I watched had him making a broccoli and cauliflower casserole with a cheese sauce. I've had this before as a side dish, but not that often and certainly nothing like this one. Apparently in the UK, this type of dish is fairly popular. Who knew? Jamie's recipe has a sauce that has cheese flavour, but isn't drowning in the stuff. There's also some broccoli blended right in and a nice nutty crouton topping. The first time I made it, I wasn't sure how my family would react. It bubbled in the oven while I took off to a Christmas party, but when I came home later that evening my family practically met me at the door to say how utterly delicious dinner was.

They were right, too. We ate the leftovers right up-as a side dish, a main dish, a snack, you name it.

One thing Jamie talks a lot about in the episode that features this dish is the advantages of using frozen vs fresh vegetables. This time of year I've found it easy to find cauliflower on sale, but broccoli tends to be a little more pricey. The advantage of buying frozen veg is that it simply waits in the freezer until you need it, which is great because you don't forget about things hanging around in the fridge and just rotting. I also added a little more garlic, which you can increase or decrease as you wish. Either way, I'm pretty sure your family will love this as much as we do.

broccoli cauliflower cheese

Servings: Eight as a side, 6 as a main

Time to prepare: 15-20 minutes

Time to cook: 1 hour 15 minutes

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into chips
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups 1-2% milk
1 lb fresh (chopped) or frozen broccoli
2 1/2 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
2 lbs fresh (chopped into florets) or frozen cauliflower
2 slices of stale bread
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 oz sliced almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat and add the garlic. Let it sizzle a little until fragrant. Add the flour and give it a good stir, letting it cook and stirring for 1-2 minutes. Gently add the milk, bit by bit, whisking as you go so that you have a smooth sauce.

Add the broccoli to the sauce and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until it's softened and cooked. If you use fresh broccoli, the sauce will seem too thick-I added about 1/2 cup more milk to the sauce to thin it out. When the broccoli begins to fall apart in the sauce, you can use  a hand blender to whiz up the sauce until smooth with a bit of chunky bits throughout. If you don't have a hand blender, a potato masher will do.

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and tumble in the chopped cauliflower. Evenly pour over your sauce and top with the rest of the cheese. In a food processor, whiz up the bread to make crumbs, then add the almonds and leaves from the thyme. The stems on thyme can be a little woody, so pulling off the leaves is a good idea. Add about 2 tsp of olive oil, a little salt and pepper to the mixture and give it a good mix. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cauliflower and sauce.

Pop the dish into the oven, uncovered, and bake for an hour until softened and cooked through.

Adapted from Save With Jamie

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