Chicken and Spinach Gratin

Comfort food was the name of the game last night as rain hammered at the windows and a fire roared in the grate. In the fridge the remains of bank holiday roast chicken and a bag of young spinach beckoned along with a few rashers of bacon in need of eating up. The result was the sort of dish I could eat once a week; tender chicken, slippery, soft spinach and scraps of salty bacon in a Dijon mustard and nutmeg flavoured creamy sauce under a tempting golden crust that was a pleasure to crack with my serving spoon. I served it with very crisp pommes frites, another fridge tidy ingredient, cooked from frozen at the same time.

Serves 2

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 45 min

1 onion

25g butter

small splash vegetable oil

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon

1 tbsp flour

150ml chicken stock

250ml milk

nutmeg

260g young spinach

300g roast chicken

50g fresh bread crumbs

4 tbsp finely grated Grana Padano cheese

     Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in the veg oil in a spacious frying/sauté pan over a

medium-low heat. Cook gently, stirring often, for about 10 minutes then add the bacon cut in small scraps. Cook for a further 10 minutes or so until the bacon fat has melted. Stir the flour into the onion, stirring until disappeared then stir in the mustard, adding stock then milk, stirring constantly as it thickens and simmers. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Meanwhile, boil a full kettle and place the washed spinach in a bowl. Cover with boiling water, pushing to immerse and leave for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, press hard with the flat of a wooden spoon, then, when cool enough, squeeze then pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Slice through the pile of spinach. Stir the spinach into the sauce, stirring until evenly dispersed. Tear the chicken into bite size pieces over the top. Stir then tip into a 1 ½ litre capacity, 5cm deep gratin dish. Smooth the surface. Mix breadcrumbs and cheese together and spoon over the top. Bake at 200C/gas mark 6 for 20-30 minutes until the top is crusty and golden.