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Spanish Beef Mince & Cauliflower Cheese

You’d be forgiven for thinking me unpatriotic to take a British classic and give it a Spanish heartbeat, but I march into Spain with the Union Jack held high. This takes the classic side dish a few steps further, by including broccoli as well as cauliflower, and transforms it into a meal in its own right: beneath that fluffy and cheesy topping lurks a bold combination of minced beef and chorizo.


For the minced beef

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

200g smoked chorizo, finely sliced

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

500ml beef stock

500g minced beef

400g can chickpeas, drained

Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

For the cauliflower cheese

1kg mixed broccoli and cauliflower florets

50g unsalted butter

50g plain flour

600ml whole milk

400g Manchego, coarsely grated

Set a large saucepan or casserole over a medium heat and pour in the oil. Once it is hot, add the onion and chorizo and cook until the onion is soft and coated in the paprika-spiked oil from the chorizo. Add the smoked paprika and garlic and fry for a minute, then add the lemon juice, beef stock, mince and chickpeas. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, uncovered. After this time, turn off the heat and stir in the parsley, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Arrange the broccoli and cauliflower florets, well spaced, on a baking sheet and roast for 25–30 minutes, just until slightly dry-looking and a little charred.

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over a high heat and add the butter. As soon as the butter melts and starts to sputter, add the flour and stir in to form a thick paste. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition to ensure no lumps form. When all of the milk is added, allow the mixture to come to the boil – don’t stop stirring – then add the cheese and reduce the heat to low. Allow the cheese to melt into the sauce.

When the broccoli and cauliflower have roasted, put them into a bowl and stir in the cheese sauce.

Transfer the minced beef to a medium-sized baking dish and top with the cauliflower cheese. Bake for 50–60 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the sauce beneath is piping hot.

This recipe is from Comfort: food to soothe the soul by John Whaite

If you like this recipe, why not check out this one for Puttanesca Aubergine Parmigiana from Dirty Vegan by Matt Pritchard?