This potato gratin with chicken meat is a variation of potatoes dauphinoise, a traditional French recipe that I found in one of my mum’s old cookery books. However, as I am married to a carnivore, I had to add some meat to it and chicken was definitely the right choice. I also reduced the amount of butter in this meal and I also changed the type of cheese to add a bit of a twist to it. It remains one of our family’s favourite dishes and it is even better the next day – either warmed up in an oven or microwave or cold – ideal for lunch boxes. Feel free to make a vegetarian version without the chicken meat – it will also be delicious!
This meal takes about 45 minutes to prepare and then it needs to stay for 2-2.5 hrs in the oven, so make sure you have enough time. The reward for the lengthy preparation, however, is crispy potato slices covered with melted cheese with hidden pieces of juicy chicken inside! This is best served with a light green salad.
Ingredients: 4-5 portions:
- 4 large baking potatoes – approx. 1.75 kg
- 4 free range chicken breast fillets
- 3 garlic cloves
- Butter to grease the baking tray
- 150 mL single cream
- 200g grated Edam cheese (you can use mild Cheddar, Gruyere or Parmesan to try out different flavours)
- Black pepper
Peel and wash the potatoes. Grate them into thin (1-2mm) round slices using a cucumber grater or simply slice them with a sharp knife (more time-consuming). To prevent the potatoes from turning brown, immerse them in cold water whilst you are preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Grate the cheese (coarsely or finely – doesn’t really matter as it will all melt), I tend to shred it in a food processor to save time.
Cut the chicken breast fillets into 0.5-1cm thick slices.
Grease a baking tray (mine is 36 cm x 24 cm) with butter, including the sides.
Peel and crush the garlic cloves and smear the garlic all over the inside of the baking tray.
Pre-heat the oven to 200° C (400° F/ 180°C fan/gas 6).
Then start layering:
Line the bottom and sides of the baking tray with a single but continuous layer of potato slices, then spread one half of the chicken meat slices evenly over the potato base layer, sprinkling everything with salt and pepper to taste. Then cover it all with one third of the shredded cheese. Continue by adding another layer of potato slices, the second half of the chicken meat on top, sprinkle again with salt and pepper and cover with another third of cheese. Then add the last potato layer (which can be a bit thicker than the bottom ones if you have more potato slices), season with salt and pepper and then add the remaining cheese on top. To finish, pour the single cream on top/along the sides of the baking tray.
Cover the tray with a lid or with aluminium foil and bake for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the cover and bake for another 30 minutes to make sure the crust is golden and crispy.
Serve with green salad/lettuce leaves.