I’ve been so busy this summer with my farmers market job, that my ‘fanciest’ dinners have consisted of tacos and maybe a pasta salad once in awhile. Not that my kids have minded eating sandwiches often. Ha. However, I was really craving something …. better. I’ve made this once before and it was delicious, and it consists of ingredients that I often have on hand. Also a plus when you’re busy! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, whatever kind of potato I had on hand (this time it was yukon gold, but baby reds would be great too!), and frozen spinach. This recipe only uses one pan on the stovetop and one 9×13 pan for the oven. Not a pile of dishes to do either!
There’s a French term I saw on a cooking show years ago, “mise en place” (MEEZ ahn plahs). It means have all of your ingredients and pans prepared before you begin cooking. I’ll admit I don’t always do this, but I should. It really does make everything go faster!
Using a large pan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium-medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook for a couple minutes on each side just to brown them a little. Place the chicken in the 9×13 pan. Using the same pan, melt another tablespoon of butter and cook the spinach over medium heat for a few minutes. If using fresh spinach, cook until wilted. If using frozen spinach, cook until mostly defrosted. I’ve been buying frozen spinach in a bag, instead of the hard block of frozen spinach I used to buy. It’s easy to just measure out a couple cups of the spinach and then put it back in the freezer. You can also adjust the amount of spinach you use in this recipe to your taste. While you’re cooking the chicken and spinach, chop the potatoes into quarters. Try to keep the pieces approximately the same size so they bake evenly. Place the potatoes on top of the chicken in the 9×13 pan, then top with the spinach. After the spinach is cooked, you’re ready to make the sauce in the same pan. I love that it only took one pan! Melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic. I cheat and use a minced garlic in a jar. Fast and easy!
Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Let the mixture simmer for a couple minutes. Add the chicken broth and spices, whisking until it thickens. Then add the half-n-half and parmesan cheese – whisking the entire time. I would add some more chicken broth until it becomes a consistency you like. Not soupy, but not too thick either. Before pouring the sauce over the chicken, be sure to give it a taste. At this point you can add more garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, etc if you feel it needs more flavor. I added a bit more garlic and a little salt and pepper and we really liked it. Pour the sauce over the chicken, potatoes and spinach and place in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to see if the chicken is done (at least 165 degrees F) and the potatoes are tender. It took about 45 minutes for my potatoes to be done. It’ll depend on how big you chopped them. Let it stand for a couple minutes, and serve!
Maybe it’s because we’ve been eating such boring foods lately, but my husband and I immensely enjoyed this dish and felt it tasted like we were in a fancy French restaurant. My kids, well, they ate a few bites while picking off the spinach. More for us!
Definitely a dish you can serve guests and fast enough for a weeknight dinner! What a great combination, right?
Inspired by Chungah Rhee