Monday, February 24, 2014

Food Post - Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin

(Taking a break and putting in a food post.  I had it set up for such a time. This is a dish I actually made on January 21st).

Cooking nicely in the oven.  This is before I put the broiler on to brown a little more.

I found this on Epicurious which you can find here.  It is part of their Thanksgiving Menu. Yes, I know we have a ways to go before next Thanksgiving,  but nothing like thinking ahead right?  I wasn't looking for Thanksgiving recipes, I wanted a side dish but this came with benefits.

Citrus-Sage Roast Turkey with Gravy (whole turkey or breast)

Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin (the recipe I am sharing here)
Roasted Butternut Squash Ribbons with Arugular, Pancetta and Hazelnut Salad
Cabernet-Cranberry Sauce with Figs
Challah, Sausage and Dried Cherry Stuffing
and for dessert,
Apple Crostata with Spiced Caramel Sauce.

I have provided links to the other recipes at the end of this post. Just click on their names to take you straight to that recipe.

Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin

Makes 8 servings
Active time: 1 hour - Total time 2 hours

2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1-1/4 cups whole milk, divided
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
4 ounces coarsely grated Italian Fontina or Gruyere cheese (about 1 cup packed)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 to 2-1/2 pound) head cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces, including stems and core
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3/4 to 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided 

Put potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a large heavy saucepan, and cover with cold water (about two inches over the top of the potatoes, make sure your pan is large enough to accommodate).  Bring to a boil and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While potatoes are boiling, heat 3/4 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan until butter is melted and milk is hot, but not boiling.  Keep warm off the heat, covered.  

Drain potatoes well in a sieve or colander and return to hot saucepan.  Add milk mixture, Fontina (or Gruyer) and pepper, and mash with a potato masher or fork to desired consistency.  Season with salt and keep warm, covered.  Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil, then add cauliflower and garlic, and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 13 to 15 minutes.

Drain cauliflower in a colander and pulse with remaining 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 3 tablespoons of butter in a food processor until it is chunky puree.  

Stir the mashed potatoes and cauliflower mixture together in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a buttered 3-quart flameproof, shallow baking dish (not glass).

Heat oven to 425 deg. F. with rack in middle.  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and gently brush over potato-cauliflower mixture, then sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (to taste).  Bake until potato mixture bubbles around edges, about 20 minutes.

Turn on broiler and broil 6 to 8 inches from heat, until topping is browned in spots, 1 to 2 minutes.

The cook notes that the potato and cauliflower mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, before brushing the melted butter and sprinkled cheese over the top.  Bring to room temperature, then bake and broil as directed.  

Recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart flameproof shallow baking dish.

Click on each menu recipe below to go to the recipe page.

Citrus-Sage Roast Turkey with Gravy (whole turkey or breast) - for a large crowd.

Citrus-Sage Roast Turkey Breast with Gravy, for small crowd.

Roasted Butternut Squash Ribbons with Arugula, Pancetta and Hazelnut Salad.

Cabernet-Cranberry Sauce with Figs

Challah, Sausage and Dried Cherry Stuffing

And what did we think of our Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin?  It was a big hit and the next time we have company or any kind of special holiday meal, I will be making this dish.  The cheese sprinkled on the top turns into a lovely crust and is the yummiest.

As sometimes happens there were a few changes.  I forgot to add the garlic when cooking the cauliflower, but it certainly didn't detract from the taste of the dish.

I missed the part where you put the potatoes back into the pan. Instead after draining them I tossed them into the mixing bowl of my stand mixer, along with the milk-butter mixture and cheese.  Mixed them up to a mash, tossed the cooked cauliflower on that and mixed it all together.  I think the other way there would be more texture to the vegetables, but we liked this creamy mash version.

I also used 1% milk instead of the whole milk, only because it was snowing like the dickens today and didn't feel like driving up to the store in that mess just for milk (that was on January 21st).  I like to use what is in a recipe but after tasting the finished product, I will stick to the 1%. The dish was still very creamy and didn't seem to miss it.

We both loved the combination of mashed potatoes and cauliflower. My Mum used to make something similar when we were kids.  

(We have also recently discovered how much we like mashed potatoes with rutabaga.  An equal amount of both veggies, boiled until tender, and mixed with butter (or if you want a lighter version, low-sodium chicken broth), original or light sour cream, salt and pepper. Just ask what Gregg's favorite veggie dish is right now?)

When I make a normal size dish I usually make one to eat that day and one to freeze, and when there are leftovers.....yay, there are leftovers!   Love those leftovers, they only get better. 

I served this with ham and broiled tomatoes but it would be good with any number of combinations to suit one's taste, or even on its own for a light supper.  We were even thinking of serving it up for breakfast tomorrow.  Yes we liked it that much.  Just have to think of what else to put on the plate.  I used up all the mushrooms.  Eggs or fruit on the side maybe?  I have half a few pieces of mango left, along with strawberries and a couple of oranges in the fridge.