A good cauli cheese takes a lot of effort but when you get that crispy top and oozy cheesy goodness it is more than worth it.
Some people are funny about adding cauliflower cheese onto a Christmas dinner, but those people, along with people who don’t want a Yorkshire pudding on a dinner need to go in the bin.
A top tip for reducing stress on Christmas besides getting hammered is to prepare all your sides beforehand so you can just whack them in the oven and worry about the turkey.
The first thing we need to clear up on this recipe is that it sounds like a lot of cheese and a lot of cream – that’s what makes it delicious so don’t be scared, it’s Christmas. Feel free to add some breadcrumbs on top if you want a crunch!
– Cauliflower 1 large (about 1kg), broken into large florets
– Olive oil 1 tbsp
– Butter 75g
– Plain flour 4 tbsp
– Whole milk 400ml
– Double cream 400ml
– Mature cheddar 300g, grated – sounds like a lot but it’s worth it
– Spring onions 3/4, chopped
Whack your oven on to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Season your cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the cauliflower florets into a bowl and toss with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Tip out onto a large baking tray, ensuring each floret has space around it. Roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly charred and tender to the point of a knife. Cool slightly. Turn down the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Melt your butter over a medium heat until foaming and slightly brown then add the flour, continuously stirring for a good five minutes. Once it turns golden brown, prepare your milk and cream in a jug.
Turn the hob down low and drop in a few tablespoons of milk and whisk like your life depends on it. Keep adding the milk slowly and don’t stop whisking. Only add another drop of milk once the last lot is fully absorbed and you’ve got a nice thick sauce. Keep going until all the milk is gone and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow the flour to cookout and the sauce to thicken some more. The sauce might seem too thick but this is what you want as the cauli leaks a bit of water. Take off the heat and add in that grated cheese, sliced spring onion.
Add your cauliflower florets into a deep baking dish and drizzle over the sauce. Top tip here is to let the dish cool and set before putting in the oven. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a deep golden crispy brown and the sauce is bubbling away.