Roast Chicken and Treviso Gratin

This lovely gratin was the happy consequence of leftovers from a very large chicken cooked Antiboise-style (Poulet Antiboise). Torn chicken, jellied juices and soft, sweet, onion counterbalanced by wilted Treviso (or other red chicory) cried out for a crisp potato topping. This recipe, though, creates similar flavours from scratch with a mound of gently cooked onion, cooked down in olive oil to a pale brown sweet goo. This long slow cooking of what seems an impossibly large amount of onion can’t be hurried. A hint of cayenne pepper, lemon and flat leaf parsley fine-tune the flavours with blanched potato slices lined up like roofing tiles over the top. Fresh breadcrumbs mixed with grana padano cheese ensure a crisp finish.

Serves 2-4

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 60 min

2 large onions

3 tbsp olive oil

pinch cayenne pepper

500g potatoes

400g roast chicken

1 tbsp flour

½ lemon

125g Treviso or other pink-tipped chicory

200ml chicken stock

few sprigs flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp fresh fine breadcrumbs

2 tbsp finely grated grana Padano cheese     

Halve peel and finely slice the onion. Heat the oil in a spacious frying/sauté pan, stir in what seems like an impossibly large amount of onion, add a pinch salt and the cayenne and cook over a medium heat, stirring as it begins to flop. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook, stirring often for about 30 minutes until soft and floppy and lightly golden. Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes ½  cm thick and drop into salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and leave to cool. Tear the chicken into bite-size chunks, season with salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice. Halve the chicory slices and fold into the soft onion, stir as they wilt. Dust with flour, stir until disappeared. Add the stock, stirring as the flour thickens the juices. Simmer for a couple of minutes then fold in the chicken and chopped flat leaf parsley leaves. Pile into a suitable gratin dish placed on a baking sheet. Cool slightly then cover the surface with overlapping potato slices. Mix breadcrumbs and cheese and scatter over the top. Bake now or later at 200C/gas mark 6 for 30 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden, juices bubbling up round the edge.