I am always looking for Southwest sides that are festive, flavorful, frugal and, well, NOT boring for Thanksgiving. I have made potato with poblanos gratin before, but mashed potatoes are a must-do on Thanksgiving, so I decided to try cauliflower instead of potatoes for this side dish. I was inspired to try a low-carb veggie by one of my favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen, which features fabulous delicious low-glycemic goodness.
The smokiness of the smoked paprika is perfect and the poblanos are delicious with cauliflower. You can use another strongly flavored hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Asiago, but I like Queso Cotija in this dish if you can find it.
This has been one of my most successful food experiments in quite awhile. I ate a small piece, and my husband ate THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PAN. I am NOT making that up. He was still raving about it this morning when I left for work!
SMOKY CAULIFLOWER POBLANO GRATIN
Prep time: 20 minutes – Cook time 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6 (or one very hungry husband!)
1 large head cauliflower, 3 pounds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used 2 per cent)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 large poblano or pasilla peppers, 1 pound total
A little canola oil spray
12 ounces queso cotija, grated
Cut cauliflower into quarters and remove core. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Cut poblanos into quarters and remove seeds and stems. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and then press down with the palms of your hands to flatten poblanos. Spray with a little oil and then broil about 6 inches from heat until skins are very dark brown. Let cool and then remove skins and dice poblanos.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until absorbed. Whisk in milk and simmer until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in paprika.
Layer as you would a lasagna in a 9 by 13 inch pan: 1/3 of cauliflower; 1/3 of poblanos; 1/3 of cream; and 1/3 of cheese; making three layers ending with cheese on top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly around edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Some other fabulous cauliflower gratin recipes out there in the blog-o-sphere:
Cauliflower Gratin, Serious Eats
Sharp Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Broccoli Rabe and Cauliflower Gratin, Barefoot Kitchen Witch
Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Gratin, Serious Eats
— posted by Donna