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