This Bacon, Cauliflower and Mushroom Gratin is a recipe from my archives, although I’ve re-adapted it slightly to make it even healthier. There’s very little cream nor cheese in this, although it’s a case of go for how much you want to use. Regardless of how simple this might be it’s full of flavour!
Bacon, Cauliflower and Mushroom Gratin, with Double Gloucester cheese, onion and chives
- olive oil
- 250g (8.81 oz) x onions, peeled, trimmed and chopped
- 2 x dried bay leaves, ripped 1 for the onions and 1 for the stock
- 2 x garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed and chopped
- 1/3 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 300g (10.58 oz) x cauliflower florets, separated and soaked in cold water (it’s OK to use small pale green leaves as well within the gratin. Don’t use the outer large green leaves as they’re unpalatable. Use those for stock)
- 150 – 200g (5.29 – 7.05 oz) x closed cup mushrooms, wiped, cut in half, turned and sliced into 4 – 6 pieces (according to how large they are)
- 4 – 6 x rashers streaky bacon, pan-fried until crisp, broken into small pieces when cool enough
- 1 x heaped tablespoon plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 x heaped tablespoon olive oil
- up to 150ml (0.317 US pt lqd) x water (use 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) to begin with and add more to get the consistency needed)
- 1/2 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
- pinch x freshly grated nutmeg, to personal taste – optional
- single/light cream, to help thin the sauce
- either Double Gloucester cheese with onions and chives, sliced thinly OR mature/sharp Cheddar cheese to grate
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When pan is hot pour in enough oil to coat its base. Add the onions and one of the bay leaves and stir through. When starting to take on a pale golden add a splash of water to prevent them from drying out. Continue to pan-fry until the onions are turning golden, reducing heat if necessary. Prep the garlic, push the onion mixture to the sides and add the garlic. Allow a couple of minutes for the rawness of the garlic to cook out. Sprinkle over the cayenne pepper and take off heat.
- In a separate heavy-based pan put on heat No 3 for the mushrooms. Add enough oil to cover its base and when hot add the mushrooms, stirring through occasionally. When they start to leach their brown liquid stay with them and stir frequently to make sure they turn nicely golden on all sides. When cooked take off heat and remove the mushrooms to a suitable bowl. Keep the saucepan for the next fourth instruction.
- In a separate pan/skillet put on heat No 2 for the bacon. With a little oil pan-fry until nicely golden on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to kitchen paper, and when cool break into bits.
- Place the drained cauliflower florets into a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add some salt, put on heat N 4 and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower heat to No 2 and simmer for only 3 – 5 minutes, according to their size. Pierce them with a fork and if that slides in without too much effort take off heat and drain. Rinse thoroughly in cold water until absolutely cold. Drain and set aside.
- Put a saucepan on heat No 1 and add the oil and flour. Allow to cook for several minutes, and if this starts to bubble take off heat. Put back on heat when cooled a little. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times to cook out the flour properly. Do not let the flour turn brown. If this happens start again with fresh ingredients.
- When the flour has cooked out sufficiently pour 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) of the water into the saucepan used for the mushrooms. Add the bay leaf and half a vegetable stock cube. Put on heat No 2 or 3 and allow time for the cube to dissolve completely. This will also grab all of the sediment left by the mushrooms.
- Preheat oven to 200°C, 400°F or Gas No 6.
- Pour the stock into the flour mixture, put on heat No 3 and bring to near boiling point, stirring constantly to prevent any lumps from forming (I never seem to have this problem, I’m happy to say). When the sauce starts to thicken add a little single/light cream and keep stirring. When the sauce starts to bubble turn off heat. Add either more cream or water to gain the consistency needed, stirring through again.
- Add the onion mixture, mushrooms and cauliflower to the sauce and stir through. Add a pinch or 2 of freshly grated nutmeg if using at this point. Pour the mixture into a suitable ovenproof dish, grate over as much or as little cheese as is needed and roast/bake on the second shelf up (if using electric) for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is visibly bubbling.
- Serve with freshly boiled potatoes.
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