This Champagne Roasted Cauliflower gets the Academy Award for Best Supporting Role! It is easy, elegant and does triple duty. It serves 8-12 which is perfect for a holiday meal. You could cut it in half but then you would be missing out on the leftovers which are as good or better than the original.
It is one of my favourite sides for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You can make it ahead and freeze and reheat which is so helpful when you are preparing many dishes for a holiday meal. I think it actually tastes better the second day.
The champagne and Gruyere are the 2 ingredients that make this dish a stand out… without them you just have cauliflower in a white sauce. I have substituted other nutty cheeses, such as Jarlsberg, and it is still very good. For the champagne I use Henkell Troken because you can buy it in little sets of 3- 200 milliliter bottles, which are great for cooking. (Saves you having to drink the rest!)
We are often a dozen or more people for the whole weekend so anything I can make ahead is a huge bonus. Since there are so many of us and we all seem to have a favourite dish that ‘must’ appear on the buffet table we always have a lot of different dishes and by extension a lot of leftovers.
The leftovers are great just as they are but you can get way more creative than that!
- You can reheat the leftovers and pour the sauce over baked potatoes for a satisfying ‘meatless Monday’ kinda meal. The cheese sauce really shines over the lowly potato! Because there is no competition from other flavours you can really enjoy the cheesy creaminess of the sauce.
- The next bonus for this recipe is you can purée the leftovers and make them into an amazing soup. You will need 2 cups of the pan juices for the sauce for the main dish but I usually have about 3 cups after the cauliflower has roasted so I purée the extra cup of pan juices to bring the soup to the consistency I want. You may need to add some chicken broth as well depending on how much of the casserole you are blending. Freeze the purée to use when it suits you. Believe me – I have been so happy to find that container in my freezer a month or so after Thanksgiving is just a memory and you are looking for a comfy, cozy supper!
- 2 medium heads of cauliflower (about 8 cups)
- 400 mil champagne (approx 2 cups)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsps butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 oz Gruyere cheese grated
- 2 cups pan juices from roasting pan (reserve remainder if you want to make soup with leftovers)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Clean and roughly chop cauliflower. Spray a 9 X13" oven proof dish and transfer cauliflower to the pan.
- Mix the champagne, broth, garlic, thyme and seasonings together and pour over the cauliflower.
- Cook covered for approximately 25 minutes. Stir, uncover and roast for a further 20-25 minutes.
- When you remove cauliflower from the oven drain off the liquid and reserve. You will need 2 cups to add to the sauce.
- Melt butter in a large skillet, whisk in the flour.
- When flour is incorporated whisk in 2 cups of the pan juices and the milk. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the cheese and continue to whisk to keep the sauce smooth. Whisk for approximately 5 minutes. Sauce should have thickened to a creamy, cheesy consistency. Add the cauliflower to the skillet to coat with the sauce.
- Transfer to your serving dish.