Chicken Gratin with Creamed Cauliflower

Light, elegant flavours here, of leftover roast chicken torn into a bay-flavoured sauce hidden under a cloak of pale creamed cauliflower enriched with crème fraiche and Parmesan. Hidden in the cauli cream, giving bursts of salty creaminess, are nuggets of molten feta cheese. The gratinee finish is home made breadcrumbs and more grated Parmesan. Highly recommended. The cauli cream, by the way, is lovely with simply cooked fish and with chicken or lamb kebabs.

Serves 3
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 40 min

1 onion
25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp flour
150ml gravy, stock, milk or water
3 bay leaves
300-400g leftover roast chicken

For the creamed cauliflower:
1 cauliflower
2 tbsp crème fraiche
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Soften in 25g butter melted in 1 tbsp olive oil, cooking in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan. Stir often, adding a pinch of salt, cooking until sloppy and soft. Stir in the flour, stirring until smooth, then add the gravy, stock, milk or water or mixture, stirring briskly to avoid lumps. Add the bay leaves, simmer gently for 10 minutes, lift out the bay and fold in the lightly seasoned (with salt and pepper) torn chicken. Transfer to a gratin dish – any shape but about 5cm deep, holding about a litre of liquid – and leave to cool. To make the creamed cauliflower, remove course stems with leaves, cut out the core in a pointed plug shape and divide the cauli in florets. Boil, covered, in sufficient salted water to just cover, for about 10 minutes until just tender. Scoop the cauli into a colander to drain or directly into the bowl of a liquidizer. Add 2 tbsp crème fraiche and 1 tbsp grated Parmesan. Liquidize, to make a fluffy, soft almost-mashed potato texture puree. Spoon just over half the cauli over the cooled chicken. Cool then dredge with the 2 tbsp breadcrumbs mixed with the remaining Parmesan. Bake now or later, the dish placed on an oven tray in case of spillage, for about 30 minutes at 200C/gas mark 6 until the top is golden, crusty and very tempting.