COMFORTING GLUTEN-FREE POTATO CAULIFLOWER BAKE
- 6 - 8 mid-sized potatoes
- 1 cauliflower or ½ of extra large cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 100 g cheddar cheese
- 40 ml olive oil approx. 4 tbs
- 40 g plain flour or gluten-free alternative My favourite for this recipe is oat flour
- 1 pint of milk
- 150 ml double cream
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- Boil the potatoes whole with skin until they are soft in the middle, usually around 15 – 20 minutes depending on their size. Let them cool down.
- Divide the cauliflower head into florets and cook them for around 7 minutes in salted water. (If you have an extra large cauliflower you can use ½ of the florets for cauliflower soup. If that’s the case, keep the water from the boiled cauliflower and put it aside.)
- Let the cooked cauliflower cool a bit on the rack. Once cooled chop the florets into rough chunks.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic. Fry the onion first, when it starts browning add in chopped garlic and fry for another minute. Mix in cauliflower pieces, season with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
- Peel cooked potatoes and cut them into 5 mm slices. They will most likely break but it doesn’t matter. Spread all sliced potatoes over the bottom of the baking tray. Season with salt.
- Lay cauliflower and fried onion mix on top of the potatoes. Don’t compact the ingredients as you want the bechamel to be able to get in between.
- I often make this meal gluten-free and replace normal flour with oat flour (I make my own oat flour in our Vitamix blender, simply by blending oats for a few seconds on high speed).
- Heat up the oil in the pan. Add the flour and fry for 1 minute.
- Before you add milk, take the pot off the heat (this step helps to avoid lumps in your bechamel). Pour half of the milk into the pot and constantly stir the mixture with a whisk dissolving all flour.
- Once the mixture is smooth, stir the rest of the milk and double cream in. As an optional step, you can add grated nutmeg and bay leaf into the bechamel sauce.
- Put the sauce back to medium heat and continuously stir until its boiling. You should be able to see the consistency changing and getting thicker.
- Pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the top generously with grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes or until the top is nice and golden.
- Note: Please, make sure you are not sensitive to protein avenin in oats if you are celiac as it is similar to gluten. However, according to Coeliac.org.uk, most celiac people can tolerate it.
ABOUT THE RECIPE
This recipe reminds me of the time when I use to live in Czech. My mum often made a baked cauliflower in a big baking dish so we always had 2 dinners from it. This version of mine is vegetarian-friendly and doesn't contain any meat. My mum always added lots of bacon into hers because my dad wouldn't even consider eating a meal without meat. But this recipe doesn't need any meat and it's more than delicious as a vegetarian meal. It's one of those satisfying, comforting meals we all crave especially during winter. To be honest I love all similar types of recipes that involve baked potatoes, cream and cheese.
If you want to save time cooking, I recommend to account for two dinners when making this meal and use the right size baking dish. We are a family of 4 and the perfect size of an oven dish that makes 2 dinners for us is around 32 x 23 cm.
Another tip I can give you is to buy an extra large cauliflower (or 2 smaller) and make creamy cauliflower soup (recipe coming soon to the blog) at the same time while making potato-cauliflower bake. It works out pretty nicely as you reuse the water from boiled cauliflower that you would otherwise throw away. You don't have to prepare anything extra on top of what you need for the cauliflower bake except for 2 additional ingredients - cream cheese and ground caraway seeds.
As potato-cauliflower bake is quite a heavy dinner we don't mind having something lighter the next day. Creamy cauliflower soup served with garlic bread and melted cheese under the grill is just perfect. This way you are able to make 3 dinners in one afternoon that will save you some time during the busy weekdays.