I feel like I am going through some sort of phase….. the phase of “what else can I do with Bechamel Sauce?” We were having dinner at a friend’s house last night and everyone was bringing a little something to contribute. I knew someone was making a big green salad and I thought that this dish would go nicely with it – besides the fact that I still had 4 chicken breasts that needed to be cooked and I wasn’t going to go shopping for the occasion. My simple little pie (for want of a better word) was a big hit with kids and adults alike. The salad had sliced apples in it which tasted like magic with the creamy chicken. I think you could serve this with sliced apples on the side if you were short on lettuce! This can be made in advance and reheated a 1/2 hour before serving.
You will need: 4 chicken breasts, 1/2 lb bacon, 8 medium yellow potatoes, 4 tbs unsalted butter, 3 cups milk (whole or 2 %), 3 tbs unbleached all-purpose white flour, 1 tsp Dijon smooth mustard, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven 350*
Wash potatoes and slice into 1/4″ rounds. Put in pot, cover with cold water.
Boil until barely soft – this will take about 4 minutes or so after the water comes to a rolling boil. drain into colander and set aside. While potatoes are cooking fry bacon until barely crispy.
Drain on paper towels, chop and set aside. Make bechamel sauce: Put medium saute pan on low heat and melt butter.
When butter has melted add flour and stir with whisk until you have a thick smooth paste. Add milk slowly and keep whisking. Add about 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 3 grinds of black pepper.
Let it cook for about 15 minutes stirring frequently. The sauce will get nice and thick. When cooked swirl in the mustard, turn off pan. Chop chicken into small dice. (I do this by slicing the chicken down the center and then slicing each piece into 1/4′ slices). You are now ready to assembly pie:
Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish,
add a single layer of potatoes,
spread chicken over potatoes in an even layer and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add all but about 5 tbs of sauce to the chicken. Spread the sauce out evenly.
It will be thick and a little hard to spread so blob it on at first and then spread. (It doesn’t have to look pretty).
Sprinkle the chopped bacon over sauce. Layer potatoes on top of the chicken and put a little blob of sauce on each potato slice and spread with a knife.
Top with a few grinds of black pepper and cook in oven uncovered for 35 minutes. Take out of oven and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving, ( time for it to set and the chicken to become juicy).
We had this with a fresh chopped green salad with sliced apples. The apples and chicken were wonderful together. It was a very fresh, yet comforting taste and was enjoyed by the entire rowdy bunch!