Looking for a perfect partner for this winter? We have an answer for you. Look forward! Winters makes me snuggle into cozy jackets and blankets. It makes me feel lazy and I wish if my personal robot could accomplish all my to do list. The struggle starts right from waking up early in the morning and continues till the end of the day where I have gorged on some extra comforting food that I can almost feel the needle of the weighing scale moving no longer by grams each day, but kgs.
Winter calls for some doozy meal makeover to the commonplace dishes. Freshest of produce available in the market, it gives everyone an option to paint their own canvas, create their own paintings. As I mentioned earlier my association with winter food is Soups, Casseroles, lots of dry fruits and lots of cheese! Mum often threw the veggies she loved (which obviously I loathed) into a glass baking container, garnished it with cheese and into the oven. This recipe draws inspiration from her famous Au-Gratin. The creaminess from the white bechamel sauce, the goodness from the winter produce and cheese crust – all ties together to bring a delicious family meal. Just about the easiest and the tastiest thing you can ever make when the weather makes you want to work less.
Chop chop, crank up your oven and enjoy this hearty bowl of awesomeness now!
INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)
- 1 cup corn kernels, blanched until tender (I used frozen corn, you can use fresh too)
- 150 grams broccoli florets, blanched until tender
- 200 grams cauliflower florets, blanched until tender
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 40 grams all purpose flour ( you can also use whole wheat flour)
- 1 1/2 cup of milk, room temperature (you might slightly more based on your white sauce consistency)
- 1 tsp of dried mixed hers (I used dried oregano and dried basil)
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup processed cheese, grated
- 1/ 2 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- pinch of sugar
- salt, to taste
- freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
- few sprigs of micro greens, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes.
- Take a saucepan on low flame and put in 40 grams unsalted butter into it. Once the butter melts, add 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic and sauté.
- Now add the flour and keep stirring and cooking the mixture to avoid the flour from burning. This would take about 1.5 – 2 minutes.
- Now add milk slowly and keep stirring to avoid forming lumps. You can add a 4 – 5 tbsp of water if the consistency is becoming too thick.
- Bring it to boil on medium flame. Add processed cheese, mixed herbs, chili flakes, sugar, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Mix well and keep aside.
- Meanwhile take the remaining butter in a saucepan. Saute garlic cloves, pinch of chili flakes and dried oregano. Now add the bread crumbs and sauté for 30 – 40 seconds and keep aside.
- Take a baking container. I used a borosil baking tray dish. Put 2 – 3 tbsp of white sauce. Then layer it with the blanched veggies (corn, cauliflower and broccoli) and then pour the remaining white sauce mixture.
- Garnish with cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese evenly (leaving one table spoon of each aside).
- Now layer with the panko bread crumb mixture evenly and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
- Put this to bake for atleast 20 – 22 minutes or until the crust starts to bubble and turns golden brown.
- Take it out of the oven, garnish with micro greens and dive in!