Cozy Comfort Food: Cauliflower and Leek Gratin

Posted on March 2, 2012
After a long day, what I really crave is some soothing comfort food. Something warm and familiar, that brings back happy memories. And that’s exactly what this Cauliflower and Leek Gratin is – it’s a comforting and satisfying side dish, and it’s so quick and easy to make! There seems to be this idea that comfort food is always heavy and high in fat, but that doesn’t need to be the case! Whenever I’m cooking, I’m always looking for ways to lighten things up, so I used fat free milk and low fat cheese in this recipe… it’s still just as creamy and delicious, with wonderful flavor added by the leeks. If you are looking for a good, vegetarian side dish to add to your dinner table, try this one out! Here’s the recipe…
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
*Serves 6*
1 head of cauliflower
2 leeks
2 small shallots
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Red pepper flakes (quantity depends on how much heat you want in the dish)
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used fat free, and it was still very rich and creamy!)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar)
Salt and pepper to season
1. First, prepare your cauliflower. Cut into florets, and wash well. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the cauliflower for 3 minutes. Then, take the florets out and wash them under cold water, place them in a large bowl, and set aside.
2. Now finely dice your shallots, and slice your leeks (use white and light green part of the leek) into 1/4 inch wheels. Melt the butter in a small pot, and add the shallots and leeks, as well as thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook this for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are nice and soft. Then, stir in the flour and stir well, cook for a minute to let the flour taste cook off, then slowly begin adding the milk, stirring constantly, until you get a nice smooth sauce type consistency. Turn the heat up to a boil, and cook at a boil for 2 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat. Preheat your oven to 350 deg F.
3. Once you have removed the pot from heat, stir in 3/4 of shredded cheese, and season the sauce well with salt and pepper. Now pour this over the cauliflower and stir until all the little florets are coated. Butter or spray your baking pan, and transfer the mixture into it, then top with the remaining 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 deg F, then, broil for another 5 minutes, until the cauliflower begins browning slightly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving!
Happy Cooking, Everyone!!! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and that March has been off to a good start for you!

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  • Southerncook March 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I dearly love cauliflower and cooking with leeks. This looks absolutely delicious and I will be making it soon. Thank you for sharing.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  • Pattie T. March 3, 2012 at 1:58 am

    How did I miss this recipe from Martha? I try every leek recipe that I can find because I love them so. I am also a fan of cauliflower. This looks to be an excellent combination. I’ll bet it was delicious too. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Jennifer @ Town and Country Living March 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Mmmmm. I’m a vegetarian and I love cauliflower and leeks. I just bookmarked this page so I can make the recipe!

  • Amy March 29, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I love this side dish! Yes, it’s totally comfort food to me. Good to know this is good for me and taste great as well. 🙂

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