You may wonder where I’m going here, but stick with me.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record… I’ve never been a big fan of soup. I don’t know what it is but I rarely find it satisfying. As a starter it’s just about acceptable, as you know something more substantial will follow. Or when you’re recovering from an illness and slowly weaning yourself back onto solids. That’s about it though. I certainly don’t understand people who get excited about having it as a whole meal.
My issue with soup stems, as far as I can tell, from its texture. Or rather lack thereof. I include “chunky” or “hearty” soups in that – I’d rather not have to fish the good bits out of a watery broth. Sorry “soup fans”, you’ll struggle to convince me otherwise on that front.
I know I’m missing out, too. There are some soups that have wonderful flavours that don’t really work in other dishes. Like Pea & Ham, with its bright, verdant colour and deep salty flavour. Or Leek & Potato, which is full of flavours I love but in a texture I could happily do without. It was a combination of those two soups that inspired this Chicken, Ham & Leek Gratin.
Underneath the crispy parmesan and panko topping there’s a wonderfully flavoursome filling. The base flavour is dominated by the combination of leeks and potatoes. I don’t think I was expecting it to quite share so much in the way of flavour with the soup. But it does and it tastes great – as well as having the added bonus of texture! The little pockets of moist chicken and salty ham hock are a great contrast and make this feel like a much more substantial meal.
The only real issue is its appearance… I think it would be safe to say that a camera is not this recipe’s friend. But beauty is only skin deep and the real character of this gratin is its flavour. Once you get beneath the golden topping you’ll find something delicious everywhere you look.
Chicken, Ham and Leek Gratin
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 300 g Leeks washed and sliced
- 300 g Potatoes cut into 1cm cubes
- 100 g Chestnut Mushrooms sliced
- 150 g Shredded Ham Hock cooked
- 250 g cooked Chicken Breast
- 250 ml Chicken Stock cold
- 2 tsp Cornflour
- 2 tsp Wholegrain Mustard
- 4 tbsp Crème Fraîche
- 100 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 50 g Parmesan grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the leeks and stir to coat in the oil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and allow them to sweat for 15-20 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.
- Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a pan of cold water then bring to the boil. Simmer until tender, then drain and put to one side.
- Add the mushrooms to the leek mixture and cook for a further 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the cooked potatoes, ham and chicken.
- Mix together the cold chicken stock, cornflour and wholegrain mustard, then pour over the leek mixture. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche.
- Transfer to a large oven-proof dish. Mix the panko and parmesan together then sprinkle over the top of the leek mixture making sure you go right to the edges. Spray with a little oil then transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
- Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||6||g|
|of which Sugars||5||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|