Chicken Crisp with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Printemps 2016
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

This saucy crisp is deliciously warming. Buy a roasted chicken at the butcher’s or grocery store for use in this recipe.

8 to 10 slices mild provolone or havarti cheese
10 slices Italian bread, not a thick-sliced variety
3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) soft butter

1 purchased roasted or barbecued chicken, about 900 g cooked weight
6 to 8 oz (175 to 250 g) thin fresh asparagus or green beans
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
3 fresh spring carrots, diced
¼ cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
2¾ cups (675 mL) chicken broth
4 oz (125 g) cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (about 5 to 6 large)
1½ tsp (7 mL) lemon juice
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme or torn basil
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2 Make 5 cheese sandwiches placing a double layer of cheese inside the 2 pieces of bread per sandwich. Lightly spread bread exteriors with butter; grill over medium-low heat until bread is barely golden and cheese is just sticking to bread. Cool and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) dice; there should be 8 to 10 cups (2 to 2.5 L).

3 Pull apart chicken into bite-sized pieces. There should be about 4 cups (1 L); discard skin and bones. Reserve any juice for sauce.

4 Cut tips off of asparagus; reserve tips for garnish. Slice asparagus or green beans into 1-inch (2.5‑cm) pieces. Set aside.

5 Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add leeks and carrots; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until leeks wilt. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Slowly stir in broth and any juices from chicken; add mushrooms. If using green beans, add now.

6 Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7 Stir in lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in asparagus (if using) and chicken. Spread hot filling in a 9-inch (23-cm) baking dish or similar-size gratin dish with a capacity of 7 to 8 cups (1.75 to 2 L). Evenly top with croutons, crust-sides down, and tuck in reserved asparagus tips.

8 Bake 20 to 25 minutes in oven centre or until filling is bubbling and top is crispy and golden.

IF MAKING AHEAD: Prepare, but do not bake. Store croutons and filled dish separately in refrigerator for up to a day. Place foil over filling in dish; bake 30 minutes. Then remove foil, arrange croutons and continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

What to Serve

6 Bonus AIR MILES®