TWO British staples combine in this comfort food recipe to warm your winter days - mince and cauliflower. As a kid growing up in East Yorkshire a family favourite was mince and onions - with a dollop of Marmite to pep it up a bit when my mum was feeling cheffy (!) - closely followed by cauliflower cheese.
Might sound a bit odd, but I've combined the two into one dish, with inspiration coming from 2012 Bake Off winner John Whaite. The beef mince has come from my pal Paul Potts from his Food 2 Remember butcher's shop in Malton, Yorkshire's self-styled food capital, and the cauli from Paley's, a traditional and seriously good family greengrocers in the town's market place. The recipe also features chorizo which Paul makes in his shop - it's pretty yummy!
Beef mince and cauliflower cheese bake
Good glug of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil
1 onion, halved and finely sliced in half moons
150g chorizo, diced
Half teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Juice of half a lemon
500ml beef stock
400g can chickpeas, drained
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 large cauli, broken into florets
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
450ml whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 good dollop mustard - we used Bracken Hill Fine Foods' Dijon style
Garnish of your choice (optional)
Heat up the Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil in a sauté pan, add the onion and chorizo and cook until soft. Add the chopped garlic and the sweet smoked paprika, fry for a minute until well mixed in, then add the mince, chickpeas, lemon juice and stock.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Take off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley along with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
While the mince mixture is cooking heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6, place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and cook in the hot oven, turning occasionally, until the florets are nicely charred. Set aside.
For the cheese sauce, heat a saucepan over a high heat and melt the butter. Add in the flour and mix to a paste. Take off the heat and slowly whisk in the milk, until smooth and free of lumps. Return to the heat, and stirring all the time, cook the sauce until thickened.
Again remove from the hob, beat in the egg yolks and the mustard and put back on the heat. Stir in the cheese until melted, put a piece of cling film on the surface of the sauce to stop a skin forming and set aside.
Tip the mince mixture into a shallow oven-proof dish, spreading to the edges. Top with the charred cauliflower florets and pour over the cheese sauce, adding a bit more cheese on the top if you're a cheese fiend like we are!
Bake in the hot oven until golden and serve with a garnish of your choice - we used chopped spring onions and crispy kale to give it some crunch. To make the kale, chuck a trimmed handful in a hot sauté pan with a drizzle of oil and toss until cooked through and crispy on the edges.