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What Is Cauliflower Cheese?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Cauliflower cheese is a traditional English dish that has also caught on in some other parts of the world; it consists of cauliflower baked with cheese and some other ingredients. This dish goes by other names like cauliflower casserole, cauliflower bake, or cauliflower gratin, but in parts of the U.K., it is commonly known as cauliflower cheese. This simple dish provides a tasty, hearty meal for less money than many meat-based dishes.

Dishes like cauliflower cheese do not require a wide array of ingredients. The ingredients for this dish are simple: in addition to whole cauliflower and cheese, flour and butter are often used, as well as milk and flavorings like mustard. Salt and crushed black peppercorns, two traditional English spices, are also frequently used. Cooks might also use other spices that are unique to specific areas of the world, either as flavoring elements, or even as decorative additions. For example, paprika, popular in Europe and other regions, is one spice that cooks often use for cauliflower cheese and similar dishes, as its bright red color adds an aesthetic appeal, and turmeric, a spice that provides a rich yellow, is popular for cauliflower dishes that feature aspects of South Asian cuisine.

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To make this dish, cooks often first pre-cook the cauliflower. Steaming is the preferred method for preparing cauliflower cheese. The cooks must also remove the leaves and stem, and figure out how to cut the vegetable into specifically sized chunks that will fit into the baking dish, and get sufficiently cooked into the mix. Cheese can be cut or shredded to place uniformly throughout the baking dish. Cheddar cheese is the traditional type of cheese that is used, but other moderately flavored cheeses can be tasty substitutes.

Cooks often blend butter and flour, as well as some of the other materials, to make a sauce element that will bake along with the rest of the dish. This gets added to the baking dish, with spices should either be blended in or poured over the surface. The entire casserole is cooked at a high temperature until the top of the dish browns. It is commonly enjoyed straight from the baking dish, as a simple and inexpensive home cooked meal. It is comparable, in both flavor and texture, to macaroni and cheese, though it is lower in carbohydrates.

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