I know, I'm sorry, I've been gone ages. We've been super busy with visitors and things going on and I've been mostly making super-simple things or cooking up frozen portions of delights I've already regaled you with. like the nicer chicken nuggets. Or we've been eating out. Naughty naughty.
I was chatting with some pals about regional stereotypes the other day (it's amazing the discussions I can get into on Facebook when I'm procrastinating and don't want to clean the dining room) and I realised that I'm something of a Welsh stereotype because I *love* leeks. Literally cannot get enough of their silky sweet oniony goodness. Never mind bread of heaven, I want heavenly leeks.
With this is mind, tonight's dinner is a bit of an experiment based on a dish my husband ordered on a recent eating-out-escapade to celebrate my birthday (I was 21. Honestly). The pub called it Welsh Chicken, so I plan to follow suit. I have fiddled with it, naturally - this is me, I live to adapt, remember? - and therefore if it's a success I shall claim it for my own. If it's awful, it's not my fault!
Welsh chicken, to serve 4. Halve quantities for dinner a deux.
4 free range/high welfare standard chicken breast fillets, skinless
4 leeks, sliced
about 150ml boiling water
1 large/2 small head of brocolli, cut into small florets
2 heaped dessert spoons butter/spread
2 heaped dessert spoons plain flour
Milk, approx a pint
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
200g strong white cheese, cheddar or Caerphilly, grated
Heat a splash of oil in a wok or frying pan and briefly cook the chicken breasts on both sides. Pop into an ovenproof dish and cover, setting aside. In the same pan, add the leeks, stir to coat in the oil then add the water. Turn the heat down to low, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, pop the brocolli on to boil and cook until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
When the leeks are soft and silky, remove from the heat. Strain off any water and reserve this. Tip the brocolli over the browned chicken breasts then tip the leeks on top, covering the chicken. Set off to one side, covered again.
Make the sauce - it's a basic bechemel/white sauce, as previously blogged. Use the reserved leek water in with the milk. Add the cheese and melt, then add the mustard seeds and pepper. I don't think this dish needs any extra salt, the salt present in the cheese is seasoning enough, but you could always add some at the table if you preferred. Pour the sauce all over the dish of chicken, leeks and brocolli, coating evenly.
Pop into a hot (200 degree) oven for about 25 minutes until bubbly and starting to turn golden. Serve with whatever side dish you fancy - we're having rustic skin-on oven baked chips with ours. It's all in the oven right now so I will update with a pic and verdict in a little while!
Update - it was delicious, you need to try it!