The Perfect Winter Warmer – Root Vegetable Stew topped with Cauliflower Cheese

I think it’s fair to say that “Winter is here,” and with reports of temperatures reaching -15’C this week we are all in need of some hearty, comforting dinners that warm your cockles and provide you with plenty of fuel and goodness to fight off anything this season throws at you (it can also help with the boozy nights and lack of sleep that is Christmas!)!

This dish has comfort written all over if… Rich and hearty stew topped with everyone’s favourite – cauliflower cheese. I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!! Cauliflower cheese, in my eyes, has become the new mash potato, and pretty often I use it to bulk out pasta bakes as well. Okay, it may not be totally calorie free, but if you make your sauce with strong flavours instead of fat that’s a more positive balance, and any excuse to fill out your 5-a-day (or is it 10 now, I can’t keep up!) is a good enough reason in my book.

I’m now day dreaming of other recipes I can incorporate cauliflower cheese into…hmmm… watch this space for more on that!

Root Vegetable Stew Topped with Cauliflower Cheese

Serves 4-6

For the Stew

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips – peeled and chopped
  • 1 beetroot – peeled and chopped
  • 1 white onion – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
  • 150ml red wine
  • 400g tin baked beans
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 twist salt and pepper

For the cauliflower cheese

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • ½ pint milk
  • 2 heaped tsp cornflour
  • ¼ oxo cube – crumbled
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g cheddar – grated
  • 1 handful breadcrumbs
  • Black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 150’C

In a small-medium size casserole dish, heat the olive oil and fry the onion until soft.

Add the remaining vegetables and the garlic and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly so as not to stick to the pan.

Pour in the red wine and let it simmer away for 5 minutes to reduce slightly before adding the remaining ingredients.

Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

While your stew is cooking, make your cauliflower cheese by breaking the cauliflower up into small florets and steaming for 8-10 minutes to soften.

Make a béchamel sauce by heating the milk until steaming.

Mix the flour into a paste with a splash of water and then stir this into your steaming milk along with the stock cube. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens and then turn off the heat and add the mustard and half the cheese.

Add the cauliflower to the sauce and squash a little with a masher so it’s well combined.

Once the stew is lovely and thick and the veg is soft, top with the cauliflower cheese.

Combine the remaining grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and the black pepper and sprinkle on top.

Return to the oven, uncovered, for half an hour and then dish up and enjoy with garlic break (or salad if you’re trying to be good).

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