Friday, December 6, 2013

Recipes: Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin

I had intended on posting this last week for the Thanksgiving recipes, but in the excitement of Friday being Friday, I forgot. It's my low-carb, vegetarian, total-comfort-food, ooey-gooey cheesy broccoli gratin adapted from this recipe. There may appear to be a lot of steps, but in reality, it's just steaming, whisking, and then putting everything in the oven. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

What You'll Need (serves 4):
  • 3 heads of broccoli (you can use fresh or frozen)
  • 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 0.5 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 45 g crumbled blue cheese
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
What You'll Do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter a baking dish.
  3. Steam the broccoli. All of it. The best way to steam is to put in a pot with a bit of boiling water and cover the pot. It should take about 7-12 minutes. When you poke the broccoli, it should go through easily. Do not let it get smooshy!
  4. In a pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter. Add bread crumbs and stir til golden (about 5-7 minutes). Remove the breadcrumbs to a plate. 
  5. In the same pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter. 
  6. When the butter is melted, take pan off heat and slowly whisk the flour in until smooth. DO NOT DUMP THE FLOUR IN- it will become a dumpling if you do! Sloooooowly whisking is key! 
  7. Placing the pan back on low heat, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk away. Simmer and whisk until the sauce is thickened (about 5-7 minutes). 
  8. Pour in another 1/2 cup of milk, adding salt, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper. Simmer and stir until sauce is thickened again (about 5 minutes). CONGRATULATIONS you've just made a classic béchamel! Fancy you!
  9. Pour in the last 1/2 cup of milk. Simmer until the sauce is thick. Put in the blue cheese crumbles and stir until melted (about 2 minutes). Take off heat. 
  10. Pour the broccoli into the sauce and mix gently.
  11. Place the entire mixture into the buttered baking dish. Top with the buttered bread crumbs. 
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top.

Yes, there may be a wee bit too much butter used, but of course you can adjust or substitute that accordingly. You can serve it as a side dish or do what I do and eat a serving as a full meal. Considering how luxuriously buttery and cheesy this dish is, you'll forget that it's completely vegetarian and low-carb!

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