Cheesy chicken in a creamy sauce doesn’t need a jar – or a complicated roux.
Some of my best recipes aren’t planned. Owing to an ill toddler, this was one of those weeks where the meal plan went out the window. Chicken in a creamy sauce with mash was just what we wanted – easy to cook and full of flavour. Proper autumn comfort food. This meal is quick enough for a weeknight too.
Poaching chicken doesn’t seem to be in vogue at the moment, but I’m not sure why. Recipes abound for Chinese style chicken, chicken soup and chicken tacos, but really, who can beat a good cheese sauce? And if you cook the chicken in the sauce it stays beautifully moist and cooks really quickly. If you forget about this dish for a few minutes the chicken will still be melt in the mouth tender.
The other thing I love about this dish is it’s a great fresh way to present root vegetables. I love cooking with root veg, but it’s easy to get fed up with stodgy soups and stews when the weather is getting colder. They help keep the price of this dish down and add a certain sweetness.
Making the Creamy Sauce
This chicken in creamy sauce is cooked in around half an hour. The timings I’ve given don’t include the time it takes to come to the boil. Whilst poached chicken cooks really quickly, do make sure it’s cooked all the way through before you eat it. Everyone’s chicken and oven are different.
If you really don’t want peeling time on top of the cooking time just use a selection of frozen vegetables – and don’t pre cook them for the full five minutes. Save even more time by serving over rice or couscous, instead of mash.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 3 carrots
- 3 parsnips
- 2 handfuls of peas
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- A sprinkling of black pepper
- 500ml (2 cups) milk
- 2 chicken breasts
- 50g (2 oz) mature cheddar
- Begin by topping, tailing and peeling the carrots and parsnips.
- Cut them into small chunks - I quartered them lengthwise then cut them into chunks of about an inch in length.
- Place them in a pan with freshly boiled water and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes.
- Drain the vegetables and stir in the garlic, black pepper and cornflour. Chop the chicken into chunks- I do this with scissors over the pan - and mix it in.
- Add enough milk to just cover the chicken. Bring to the boil and cook for around five minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Grate the cheese and stir it in.