Every home cook has a dish that is always appreciated. With us, the kids still like to come home to daddy for a plate of scampi diabolique. In the case of Louise de Brabandere, her friends can’t get enough of her casserole with minced meat and cauliflower. Because that combination also scores high in our list of favorite comfort food, the choice to cook something from her Easy Dinners was an easy one.
The author, who started a blog years ago but turned cookbooks, food styling and recipe development into her work, pimps the classic dish with spicy harissa and mascarpone instead of the classic cheese sauce. With success, because we recorded nothing but approving sounds from our table group.
The preparation lives up to the easy promise. No far-fetched ingredients, no daring techniques, no complex preparations, in short, no headaches. In our recipe, we only adjusted the splash of milk, to make the mascarpone into a smooth sauce, into a few firm shoots.
The beautifully designed book, with tasty photography that makes you want to get started, is therefore very suitable for those who have little kitchen experience. Louise does everything she can to make us feel at ease – “know that cooking in your own kitchen is no competition” – tells anecdotes about her own experiences and also shares how to put together a versatile pantry as the basis for many tasty dishes.
The cauliflower mince dish may seem more classic, but don’t let that fool you. The 54 recipes are refreshing and contemporary and cheerfully navigate between Mediterranean, Eastern, Asian and other world influences. A piece of meat or fish is not avoided, but vegetarians are very well endowed.
RECIPE: Oven dish with minced meat, mascarpone, harissa and cauliflower
-2/3 cauliflower, in small florets
-800 g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in pieces
-1 onion, chopped
-1 clove of garlic, crushed to a pulp
-1 600 g mixed minced meat
-1 tbsp tomato concentrate
-2 tbsp tomato ketchup
-Pepper and salt
-150 g Gruyere
-150 g mascarpone
-1/2 tbsp harissa (or something else spicy, such as sambal)
That’s how you make it
Preheat the oven grill to 200 ° C. Boil or steam the cauliflower and potatoes until tender, heat a knob of butter in a large pan and simmer the onion and garlic for 1 minute. Turn up the heat and add the ground beef. Push it flat with the back of a wooden spoon so that it covers the entire pan, and let it bake untouched for 3-4 minutes. Turn the meat cake over and loosen it with the wooden spoon. Add the tomato concentrate and ketchup and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. When the minced meat is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the meat to an oven dish. Cover the ground beef with a layer of grated cheese, then a layer of potatoes and finally a layer of cauliflower.
Season with salt and pepper. Beat the mascarpone with a splash of milk. Mix in the harissa and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the casserole and finish with the remaining ground cheese. slide under the oven grill for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
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