Chicken, Leek and Cheddar Bake

This is another recipe I found in yet another online magazine – we like chicken, and had a lot of leeks growing in our veggie garden that we didn’t quite know what to do with – so I went looking for a good recipe in which to use our very healthy-looking leeks, and this recipe won Julian’s attention. Don’t be fooled though – this recipe needed a lot of amendments – f’rinstance, who ever heard of cooking almost a kilo of chicken – diced or not – in five minutes?! Anyway, after a lot of “discussion” about quantities and times, the dish was duly cooked, and was really delicious! I highly recommend it, but please – use your own judgement as to when the chicken is cooked, and whether or not you use a “griller” in the last part of the recipe – we found that just bunging it in the oven worked very nicely! In the end, we liked this recipe so much that it too has now entered the annals of our Family Cookbook, with all due citations and references, as being a “Keeper” recipe – meaning that we’ll be making it again on a fairly regular basis. This recipe also made far too much for just two of us, but the leftovers froze well, and we had it twice more in the following week or so, when it proved just as nice, if not nicer, than the when we originally made it. Now, here it is for your enjoyment! 🙂

You will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 25 g of butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of plain flour
  • 300 ml low-fat milk¹
  • 125 g Cheddar cheese, grated

And this is what you do:

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook the chicken until it’s well browned all over. Add the leeks and sauté for about another ten minutes – remember that leeks are reasonably delicate, so treat them gently! While the chicken is browning, melt the butter in another, medium-sized to large saucepan – you’re about to make White sauce! When the butter has melted and is beginning to foam, stir in the flour, mashing out any lumps that may start forming, and cook for about one minute. Remove the saucepan from the stove and gradually, a little at a time, start whisking in the milk. When all the milk has been added, return the saucepan to the stove and slowly bring it to the boil until thickened slightly, stirring constantly (otherwise you’ll get lumps, and believe me, you do not want lumps!) Remove the saucepan from the stove again, season, then add half of the cheese, stirring until all the cheese has melted.

Place the chicken and leeks in a greased, heatproof baking dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and place under a preheated grill (around 200°?) for two to three minutes, or until the top is “golden” and bubbling.

To serve:

 Serve with plain steamed rice, or couscous, or pasta, or a green salad!

Notes:

4 large chicken breasts, diced – chicken should be cut into “bite-sized pieces” – any smaller and they’ll disappear in the general sauce!

2 leeks, washed and sliced – our leeks were fairly small, Julian used 4, but the dish really needed more, so be your own judge here – use as many leeks as you think the dish needs, bearing in mind that leeks (like just about everything else) tend to shrink when cooked.

25 g of butter – Julian used about 37 g

2 Tablespoons of plain flour – we used 3 Tablespoons of plain flour

¹ 300 ml low-fat milk – to make enough white sauce for this dish, Julian used 450 ml

If you’re a good cook – or even if you’re not – feel free to adjust the ingredients as you need, on your own recognizance! It does make a lot! (for two people, anyway)

Enjoy!