Comfort food for Rainy Days – Cauliflower cheese with crispy chorizo

Cauliflower cheese with crispy chorizo

This is a quick and easy and nutritious meal for everyone. I am currently teaching my son Jamie some easily achievable recipes for when he goes to uni in September. He tested this recipe and it worked out perfectly so now he is going to it out by making if for his girlfriend this weekend. We had it for supper with some ciabatta bread and a tomato salad. Perfect.

To serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm cauliflower
  • 50g of unsalted butter
  • 50g of plain white flour
  • pinch dry mustard (optional)
  • pinch paprika (optional)
  • 500ml of milk
  • 100g of mature cheddar cheese – grated
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 100g of diced cooking chorizo (optional)
  • 4 Tbs Parmesan for the top
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and separated into equal sized florets. Bring a large saucepan of boiling water. Simmer for about eight minutes (testing after five) until cooked but still with a bite. Drain through a colander and set aside while as you make the sauce. Alternatively steam for 10 minutes or so until tender (see Tip below).
  3. To make a rich cheese sauce, melt the butter and, add the flour, mustard powder and paprika if using. Stir for a few minutes to cook out the flour. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly so that the mixture (known as a roux) absorbs all the milk before you add the next lot. When all the milk has been added let the sauce simmer for ten minutes to thicken. It should be fairly thick and smooth by this stage. If there are any remaining lumps, a good whizz with an electric hand whisk can sort this out.
  4. Add both types of cheese and allow to simmer for a further 3-4 minutes. Add a good twist of black pepper.
  5. Place the drained cauliflower into a ovenproof dish
  6. and pour the sauce over the cauliflower, making sure it is well coated.
  7. Scatter a little Parmesan on top and bake for 25  minutes.
  8. Towards the end of the cooking time, fry the chorizo bits over a gentle heat in a frying pan until they are golden brown and cooked through.This should take around 4-5 minutes.
  9.  When the cauliflower is bubbling and golden, remove from the oven and serve with the chorizo bits scattered on top.

TIP: Steaming small amounts of vegetables is the best way of preserving the nutrients and helps keep the texture. We have a very nifty and space saving collapsible steamer basket. You can get them in shops like Robert Dyas or from Lakeland.

NOTE:  I have put some as the ingredients as optional as student cooks will probably not have the cupboard space nor frequent use for some of these items. The chorizo is also optional as it is an added expense for students on a tight budget, but could be substituted with some rashers of streaky bacon.

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