After the turkey, ham, stuffing, bread sauce, roast spuds etc., went on their seasonal way, in the kitchen it’s been back to every-day fare. Aided by a vegetarian visitor or two, we have been having a break from meaty dishes and I created this recipe around part of a vegetable you often discard.

Broccoli stalks don’t cook as quickly as the florets, so are better cooked separately – they’re far too expensive to throw away and they have a good flavour. Use the florets, plain boiled or steamed on day One and keep the stalks for the next day. Then, try them with leeks and mushrooms in this lunch dish, or as a side for dinner.

Broccoli, mushroom and leek Gratinée

Broccoli plus StalksBroccoli Stalk Gratinee, with leeks and mushrooms

Ingredient for four servings

Stalks from two bunches of broccoli.

About two dozen button mushrooms.

One medium leek

One pint of white sauce (see recipe following)

2 – 3 tbsp grated Cheddar

2 tbsp bread crumbs


1. Make your white sauce. Leave in pan.

2. Cut the stalks off each broccoli stem, near the floret.

3. Peel away the tough outer layer of each stalk.

4. Cut peeled stalks into 3 – 4 pieces.

5. Trim leek, chop crossways into pieces and rinse very well in a sieve.

6. In small pan, put chopped leeks put the leeks and cover with boiling water and boil until tender (about four minutes)

7. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.

8. Bring water back to boil and cook the broccoli stalk pieces until tender (about 6 – 8 minutes)

9. Slice mushrooms into three pieces and fry in a knob of butter until they are beginning to throw their juices. Remove from heat.

10. Stir your veggie mix into the white sauce and then spoon this into a medium shallow oven dish.

11. Mix the grated cheese and the bread crumbs together and sprinkle this over the veggies.

12. Put under a hot grill until the top is crispy golden-brown. Serve at once on warmed plates.


Ingredients for 60cl (approx 1 pint)

50g (2 oz) unsalted butter

50g (2 oz) plain flour (quite coarse will do)

60 cl (1 pint) milk (*)



1. In a pan which is heavy enough not to burn the bottom (I prefer good hefty non-stick), melt the butter.

2. Slowly stir in the flour until you get a nice roux (a little buttery ball of flour). Do not brown.

3. After a minute or so, take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in about one-third of the milk.

4. Put back on very low heat and use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to mix the roux very well into the milk, which then becomes a larger, wetter ball which shouldn’t have any lumps.

5. Remove the pan from the heat again and pour in some more milk. Repeat the operation until you have a thick sauce.

6. Finally, stir in the remaining milk and keep stirring and demolishing any lumps until you have a lovely smooth sauce which you season to taste. If you want a thinner sauce simply add more milk.

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