Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Cheese
It seems that certain foods run a hot streak, and these days nothing is hotter than cauliflower. You can find recipes for all kinds of cauliflower, it can be made into sauces, roasted, it makes a perfect “mashed potato” substitute and of course it makes a beautiful soup.
Recently a recipe caught my eye on Pinterest. It was a whole roasted cauliflower swimming in a pool of beer cheese sauce. It looked scrumptious. The recipe was from Joy the Baker. I must say I felt “Joy” after making this recipe…….so thank you Joy the Baker!
When I saw the recipe, my mind went screaming back in time to my Grandmother’s kitchen. For each and every holiday she cooked a whole head of cauliflower………well, I should say she boiled a whole head of cauliflower. Back in the day, the only way to cook vegetables was to boil the hell out of them………I mean boil them so hard and long they were practically mush. I do not remember that the head held together, but I do remember it being served every holiday.
Quite frankly, it stunk the place up…..it did not have a pleasant aroma. The adults, loved it……all of us kids, turned up our noses. What we did not turn up our nose to, was the cheese sauce Grandma served with the cauliflower. It was awesome……rich and velvety……..and you guessed it, made from velvetta. We used it on our potatoes instead of gravy. Such great food and memories came from my Grandma’s kitchen.
As an adult, I do like cauliflower, and I love cheese sauce on it. This recipe was something I just couldn’t resist trying it.
You do need to boil the head, but not to the extent my Grandma did……sorry Grandma!
It was boiled in water, flavored with olive oil, butter, salt, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and a bay leaf.
After its hot water bath, it gets splashed with olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika, then into the oven for about 30 minutes. Smoked paprika is new to my spice collection, and a welcome addition.
While the cauliflower is roasting you make a nice beer cheese sauce. Beer cheese is just plan out and out yummy. A basic white sauce with beer and cheese….how in the world can that be bad??? Trust me it’s not! It’s wonderful!
The roasted cauliflower goes in a nice serving dish and you spoon around the cheese sauce………creamy, smooth , cheesey, yumminess. I used some sliced green onions ( green part only) for a garnish.
Perfect side dish for any kind of steak or chicken. So, try a whole roasted cauliflower, it may turn into your favorite side dish!
- For the Cauliflower:
- 10 cups water
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- ⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup beer (something light like a pilsner or amber)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- To make the cauliflower, pour water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt, olive oil, lemon juice, butter, sugar, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Stir until butter has melted.
- Gently lower the cauliflower into the simmering water. The cauliflower should simmer top down in the liquid. No need to stir much. Just let it simmer away for 15 minutes or until very soft. To test the softness, insert a thin knife into the cauliflower. The knife should meet no resistance.
- While the cauliflower simmers, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Carefully lift the cauliflower from the water and place in a colander to drain.
- Place warm cauliflower in a pie plate. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
- Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan two or three times during baking.
- To extra brown the cauliflower, turn the oven to broil and roast for 3 to 5 more minutes. Keep an eye on the cauliflower to ensure it doesn't burn too much.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheese sauce. The cauliflower will be piping hot.
- To make the Cheddar Beer Sauce, heat butter in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk together to form a paste and cook for a few seconds to develop a nutty aroma.
- Slowly stream in the milk and whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the beer and Worcestershire sauce and whisk until smooth, well incorporated and thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth.
- To serve, place warm cauliflower in a serving dish. Pour the warm cheddar beer sauce around the cauliflower and serve. Enjoy!