You know those one dish meals people are always talking about? This was my attempt at one of those. At the end of the day, I think I prefer this recipe strictly spinach, keeping the meat on the side. Preferably with beef. Of course you know me, I’d eat beef every day of the week if I could. I guess that’s the other thing I was going for with this, a last ditch effort to hide the chicken from myself so I wouldn’t know I was eating it.
So if you want to make it simply a spinach au gratin, leave out the chicken and double the spinach. In that scenario, I’d omit the breadcrumbs as well. You could also use the chicken but skip a few steps by using shredded chicken from a grocery store rotisserie chicken.
One really really awesome thing about making this, is that I got to use the new microplanes  I got for Christmas. If you haven’t broken down and purchased these yet, Go ahead. Do it. It feels exactly like when you buy new socks after putting it off for way too long. Only better. I’ve been coveting these for ages, and I’m seriously impressed I was able to hold out until Christmas. Just thing of all the grating 2010 has in store for you!
Chicken Spinach Au Gratin (serves 5)
3 chicken split breasts
4 tbsp butter
2 c. diced onions
4 tbsp flour
3 c. 2% milk
20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and all water squeezed out
1/2 c. grated Parmesan Reggiano
3/4 c. shredded Gruyere
2 tsp kosher salt
8 turns fresh ground pepper
In a large pan, combine split breasts with 1 tsp of kosher salt and 12 turns of fresh ground pepper, cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cook boil chicken for 35 minutes. Turn off heat, and let chicken rest in water for 10 minutes. Remove skin and bones and shred chicken using two forks.
Preheat oven to 350. In a deep saute pan, melt butter on medium heat, add onions and saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to prevent browning. Add flour and stir until paste-like and combined, then cook for 2 more minutes. Add milk and stir to incorporate, raise heat to medium high and cook for 10 minutes to thicken. Turn off heat.
Add spinach, shredded chicken, Parmesan, Gruyere, salt and pepper. Stir until combined, then smooth surface with your spatula, and sprinkle just the surface with a teeny bit more Parmesan, Gruyere and breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 25 minutes – or until bubbly and just lightly browned.