Saturday, October 13, 2007

A cheesy cauliflower & mince gratin with dill

Yes, the Weekend Herb Blogging that Kalyn started two years ago is celebrating this weekend in style. Kalyn herself is hosting this round, and we're all asked to contribute a recipe using at least one vegetable and at least one herb [click here for the round-up]. Weekend Herb Blogging is a fun foodblogging event, and I've taken part quite frequently (you can see my WHB entries here). It's a great incentive to come up with new healthy vegetable dishes on a regular basis and to experiment with new herbs, providing variety and excitment to our daily diet.

For this special anniversary edition, I'm submitting a very simple dish that I cooked earlier this week. Yes, I could have come up with something hyper-unique and super-special, but then that's not how we eat usually here. A simple, homey dish is something that's much more useful, so that's what I chose. My featured vegetable is cauliflower - horrible, when old & overgrown, but wonderful, when young and fresh; my chosen herb is dill - definitely one of my favourite herbs, and a very common one here in the North-Eastern corner of Europe.

Cauliflower & Mince Gratin with Dill
Slightly adapted from Valio recipe for Kukkakaali-jauhelihapaistos
Serves 4

about 1 kg of cauliflower, cut into florets
300 grams lean mince (I used lean pork, with 5-7% fat*)
1 large onion
2 Tbsp oil
salt & coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped (plus extra to serve)
2 eggs
300 ml single cream
200 grams grated (mozzarella or any other well-melting) cheese

Cut cauliflower into florets, boil for 5 minutes in a slightly salted water. Drain.
Heat the oil on a heavy saucepan, add onion and fry gently for 5 minuted. Add the minced meat, fry for another 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until browned all over. Season with salt, pepper and dill.
Spread the meat & onion mixture on a 25 cm pie dish, about 3-4 cm high. Place cauliflower florets on top.
Whisk eggs with cream, pour over the cauliflower florets.
Bake at 200 C oven for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for another 10 minuted, until the cheese has melted and the dish is light golden brown on top.
Serve sprinkled with extra dill, and some green salad leaves or tomatoes.

* Kasutasin Rakvere delikatesshakkliha, rasvasisaldus 5-7%. Müüakse karbis.


K and S said...

this looks so delicious and comforting on a cold evening.

Wendy said...

Great choice of dish. As mentioned above, it looks so comforting and nourishing. :)

Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds so yummy. I'm a big cauliflower fan, especially if there is at least a little cheese with the cauliflower, and I think dill sounds great with this too. Thanks for helping make the two year anniversary so much fun!

Gloria Baker said...

Your cauliflower's dish looks wonderful, my daughter loves them!! sorry Nami Nami but, what is the veggis's blog weekend?? I am a little new yet. Thanks Gloria

Katie Zeller said...

Shepherd's Pie with cauliflower - I love it! I saw white, green, purple and orange (that one is new to me) at the market... They looked so beautiful but I'm still trying to eat everything in my garden and am way behind...they'll have to wait...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You took the words right out of my mouth Katiez! Shepherd's Cauliflower Pie! What a great idea!

Jeanne said...

Oooh, I'm SO going to try this! Kind of like a more vegetable-y version of shepherd's pie :) I love cauliflower in any shape anyway. This sounds just fab.

Pille said...

Kalyn - thank you! I've already spotted many other cauliflower recipes that I'd love to try soon - it's a great vegetable! Thank you for starting the WHB 2 years ago - it's been fun!

K&S - that's an accurate description!

Wendy - comfort and nourishment is all we need during colder times, isn't it?

Gloria - if you click on the banner in the beginning of the post, you can read all about Weekend Herb Blogging over at Kalyn's fantastic blog!

Katie - I've never made the classic Shepherd's Pie before, so it was a bit brave of me to try an alternative version to start with :) I'd love to try purple & orange cauliflower - I've only seen pictures so far..

Tanna - thanks!

Jeanne - it's funny how you all relate it to Shepherd's Pie. The latter is not a common dish in Estonia, so I never thought of that association :)

BlueRibbonCookies said...

My family said this is one of the best vegetable dishes they've had! Thank you! I used sauteed chopped bacon (much of the fat removed) instead of pork and sauteed the onions in some of the bacon drippings. With the steamed cauliflower I added in several thinly sliced summer squash (you could use zucchini, too). I am looking forward to trying more recipes from your quality blog!