Chicken and broccoli gratin – Avoca Cafe Cookbook

I wanted an elegant meal for friends that needed minimal attention after they arrive so decided to try the Chicken and broccoli gratin from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook: Bk. 1. This recipe involved a few more steps than is ideal for a weekday evening meal but it was a pleasant way to spend a Sat afternoon to make the evening meal and was very nice. I think it would probably freeze well. I’d add another carrot next time and a mix of peppercorns and I did add a tsp veg bouillion this time but otherwise I wouldn’t make any other changes.

I went to update this post to say it was so nice I’ve made this recipe a few more times since and realised I hadn’t typed up the recipe so here it is. This quantity makes enough for 8. It also makes up very well the day before, I boxed up the breadcrumbs and cheese mix to put on just before popping in the oven. I’ve adjusted quantities a little to suit me and I leave the onions and carrots in. I’ve tried this using both a whole chicken and chicken breasts, the whole chicken option is definitely superior.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken about 1.5kg in weight or 6 chicken breasts
  • 2 onions peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • a few sprigs parsley or tsp dried parsley/mixed herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a tbsp peppercorns (black or mixed) slightly crushed
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g roux (see below)
  • 2 medium heads of broccoli divided into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 75g strong cheese grated
  • 150g breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Places the chicken in a large saucepan with the onions, carrots, celery, parsley/mixed herbs, bay leaf, peppercorns and enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked (about an hour for a whole chicken, 20 minutes for chicken breasts).
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and leave to cool. Strip meat off the bones, tear up into large bite size pieces and set aside.
  3. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 600ml/1 pint
  4. Add the cream, return to the boil then whisk in the roux a little at a time to form a thick sauce
  5. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water until just tender, then drain and refresh under cold water.
  6. Stir chicken, broccoli and strained veg into the sauce and season to taste.
  7. Pour this mixture into an ovenproof dish.
  8. Melt the butter and mix with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Spread over the chicken mix (I find the quantities make one large oven proof dish plus a 2 person portion in a pyrex freezer/overproof dish so I freeze a 2 person portion. If you had one deeper dish for the whole lot you wouldn’t need as much breadcrumb/cheese mix)
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 20mins or until brown and bubbling.

To make the Roux

Melt 50g butter in a small sauce pan, add 50g flour and stir until combined, take off the heat

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