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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Potato, Artichoke, and Cauliflower Four Cheese Casserole

I reckon the three best vegetables to eat with cheese are, hands down, potatoes, artichokes, and cauliflower. So all three in a casserole with four cheeses, so I reasoned yesterday, is a pretty ingenious idea.

I was totally right.

I saw a similar recipe in my favorite cook book, "Vegetarian Practical Cooking" last night, so I made this casserole for dinner. It has Gruyère, Gorgongonzola, Parmesan, and sharp Cheddar cheese both in the sauce and on top.

And it was amazing.

Serve this over rice and with a salad. I made brown rice and a pear, Gorgonzola, and pecan salad.

Potato, Artichoke, and Cauliflower Four Cheese Casserole
Start boiling some salted water in a medium or large pot. Get out some baby red potatoes.
Chop them up into uniform pieces so they'll cook fast and evenly. Plop potatoes into boiling water. But don't forget about them.

While those puppies are cooking, cut up about 2 cups of cauliflower. I tried to make mine uniformly sized...
Next chop up 1/2 a red onion. I tried a new technique this time, I chopped the onion in half and cut off the end. Then cut it in one direction, rotate 90 degrees, and cut it again.
Next, smash three cloves of garlic and mince.
And finally, open up a can of quartered artichokes. My casserole had one can of artichokes, minus one.
But don't cut yourself on the can. I usually manage to at least once. But this time, I didn't at all!

Boil potatoes until tender but still firm. This usually takes about 15 minutes. I usually test if they're done by poking them with a knife.

Drain these guys when they're done and set them aside, or do as I did and dump them in your 9 inch casserole dish.

Next, steam the cauliflower. Cook until tender, this took about 10 minutes.
Dump these in your casserole dish on top of your baby red potatoes.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in your good ol' rusty trusty cast iron skillet.
And start cookin' your onions and garlic. Mmmmmmm... Sautee until almost done.
Now here's the hard part. Add 4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) of flour to the butter. Cook the roux (butter/flour mix) for about a minute. I had my boyfriend help on this part. It's really hard to stir and pour the flour at the same time. It should start to look like this:
After you let it cook for a minute, turn down the heat a little and start adding the milk, a cup at a time, and bring milk to a boil. Right after it starts boiling, dump in the artichokes.
Reduce heat and simmer until mixture gets a little thicker, maybe about 7 minutes, stirring regularly.

Here are all the cheeses I used:
Add in half of the cheese, or about 1/2 cup of Gruyère, Gorgonzola, and sharp cheddar, and 1/4 cup parmesan. The sauce will start to look like this. This is definitely done.

Now the roux is finished. I use variations of this recipe for mac 'n cheese and other cheesy veggie casseroles...
Dump this sauce over potatoes and cauliflower.
Then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top with 1 tablespoon thyme.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

And now it's time to clean up my mess...
And take out the veggie scraps to the compost pile!
And finally, its done!!
Mine turned out a little brown, just perfect for my liking!

Garnish with a couple sprigs of thyme and serve on rice!

Potato, Artichoke, and Cauliflower Four Cheese Casserole

2 1/2 cups cubed baby red potatoes
2 cups cubed cauliflower
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can quartered artichokes
4 tbl. butter
4 tbl. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup each Gruyère, Gorgonzola, and sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 tablespoon thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil baby red potatoes until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Steam cauliflower, about 10 minutes. Dump potatoes into 9 inch casserole dish, and layer cauliflower on top. Melt butter in pan, and sautee garlic and onion until almost cooked through. Next, slowly add in 4 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Cook for a minute, then turn down the heat and add the milk slowly, mixing to dissolve butter and flour. Add artichokes, and bring milk to a boil, stirring regularly. Reduce heat and simmer until it starts to thicken, about 7 minutes or so. Add half the cheeses and stir to melt into sauce. Pour sauce over potatoes and cauliflower, and sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped thyme. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of thyme

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