This dish began as a recipe from The Avoca Cookbook, it has been cooked so many time over the last few years that I have ended up changing, adding and subtracting a number of ingredients. It is a really lovely dish and works both as a comforting midweek supper or as an indulgent dinner to serve to guests. It can be prepared the evening before and just finished in the oven when required.
6 chicken fillets or 1 whole chicken
Some whole Peppercorns
2 Celery Stalks cut into large pieces
2 Carrots cut into large pieces
1 Bay Leaf
1 Red Onion quartered
1 large Head of Broccoli, broken into florets
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 heaped Tablespoons of Cornflour
1 Bag Mr Crumb Breadcrumbs
50g Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
30g Butter Melted
Place the chicken in a saucepan with the peppercorns, celery, carrots bay leaf and onion. Use just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer, if you are using fillets simmer for about 20 minutes till they are just done, if you are using a whole chicken simmer for about an hour.
While this is cooking bring a pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli, simmer till the broccoli is just cooked, do not allow the broccoli to overcook and when it just yields to the tip of a knife, drain it and run if under cold water to prevent further cooking
When the chicken is just cooked remove it from the liquid, dice the chicken fillets or strip the whole chicken of the meat. Place the meat in a large gratin dish along with the just cooked broccoli.
Strain the beautifully flavoured liquid that the chicken was in, into a clean saucepan ( or into the one you had used for the broccoli, to save on washing up!) to remove all the veg etc.
Bring this liquid to the boil and allow it to boil until it is reduced by half which will help concentrate the flavour, and now add the cream and bring it back to the boil. In a cup mix the cornflour with a small bit of water and when dissolved add this to the cream mixture and stir all the time to ensure it thickens without lumps. Stir in the Dijon mustard.
Pour this gorgeous sauce over your chicken and broccoli in the gratin dish.
Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave and stir in the breadcrumbs and cheese and place this over on top of your gratin.
You can now place it in the fridge to cook later or the following day or go ahead and cook it straight away. Remember to bring it to room temperature before cooking if you do refrigerate it.
Cook in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 50 minutes.
Try very hard not to think of the cream while you enjoy this gorgeous dish….some calories are well worth it!!