Autumn comfort food doesn’t get easier or tastier than this chicken, onion, and potato gratin. Creamy sauce, gooey cheese, tender potatoes, and perfectly seasoned chicken breast make it a family favorite throughout the chilly autumn and winter months.
This recipe is one I published way back in 2007 – can you tell by the picture?
I may not be the best photographer but I’ve improved over the last seven years!
This dish is a variation that I came up with on a recipe that I tore out of Bon Appetit years ago. Maybe centuries ago, I don’t know. It passes all the tests for perfect comfort food; rich, simple,high in flavor, and you can cook it either in a conventional oven or a crockpot. Add a chewy baguette, a salad, and maybe something appley for dessert and you have a meal worth eating!
I have always loved food with a French attitude. I taught myself to cook in the 1980s and back then French was cool in every area of life from fashion to food. Country French decor and architecture ruled that decade. I think that’s why so much of what I cook is a mash-up of country French and totally Texican. This dish leans more toward the country French.
In November of 1980 I got very sick and literally nearly died. I was in the hospital on bedrest for about six weeks that lasted from just after Thanksgiving to New Years. That was before cable television and a million channels to choose from so my choices were limited to soap operas (I never really got into except for during the Luke and Laura drama in the summer of 1981) and reruns of Mr. Ed. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mr. Ed. Just not a six week marathon.
So, my Dad came to visit me and he brought me several things to read. One was the very first Bon Appetit magazine I ever had in my hands. I don’t remember that much about it except it was the December 1980 issue.
It changed my life.
So, this is the result of a combination of Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet in the 1960s – 70s, followed by the penchant for country French everything and my getting sick and having no choices other than crappy television in the 1980s. It’s funny when you look back and see all of the circumstances that brought you to where you are today.
Give this a try – it’s hearty comfort food at its best. You can make it in a casserole or be all Julia Child and make it in a gratin dish.
Chicken, Onion & Potato GratinPrint Add to Collection Go to Collections
- 3 lbs red skinned potatoes, , sliced
- 2 lbs 1015 or Vidalia onions thinly sliced
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/2 lb Gruyere, , emmental, or Swiss cheese grated
- 1 1/3 c heavy cream
- 1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, (boned and cut in smallish pieces). (I usually poach mine for this dish, so I can have the broth for soup)
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Add butter to a large frying pan.
- Cook the onions in the butter, covered,over medium low heat until transparent.
- Stir them often to keep them from sticking.
- You don't want them to brown - just to release the sweetness. This will take about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile simmer the potatoes until tender. Drain (keep the potato water for breadmaking..it is wonderful!)
- Mix the potatoes and the onions, and season to taste.
- Arrange half in a layer in a buttered 13 x9 casserole.
- Sprinkle with half the cheese, and then arrange the chicken over the cheese.
- Place the rest of the potato onion mixture over the chicken.
- Pour the cream over all and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake uncovered at 400 for 30 minutes or until cream thickens.
- Remove from oven and torch or broil until the top is golden and bubbly 2 or 3 minutes.
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