My colleague Esme Howarth’s mother cooked a version of this for her throughout her childhood. When Esme recently asked for the recipe, she was told it had condensed chicken soup in it, as well as evaporated milk and Hellman’s mayonnaise. I do like short cuts, but possibly not so many, so my version doesn’t taste quite the same, though Esme concedes that it’s still pretty darned good. Serve with plain rice or mashed potato.
Prep 15 min
Cook 55 min
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut widthways into 2cm-thick slices
3 tsp mild curry powder
Salt and black pepper
80g unsalted butter
2 broccoli heads, cut into 3-4cm florets (about 550g)
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
250ml double cream
250ml chicken stock
1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1½ tbsp
10g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
140g mature cheddar, roughly grated
30g panko breadcrumbs
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. In a bowl, mix the chicken with two teaspoons of curry powder, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Melt 10g butter in a large saute pan on a high heat, then fry half the chicken for a minute on each side, until browned. Remove from the pan, add another 10g butter and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Half-fill a medium saucepan with salted water, bring to a boil, then blanch the broccoli for a minute or two, so it still has bite (or lightly steam it). Drain, refresh and leave in the colander to dry.
Melt 40g butter in the same saute pan on a medium-high heat and, once it starts to foam, fry the onion, stirring now and then, for eight or nine minutes, until soft and caramelised. Stir in the garlic and remaining teaspoon of curry powder, and fry for two minutes, until aromatic. Add the cream, stock, raisins, lemon zest and juice, tarragon, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, and cook for eight minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. Return the chicken to the pan with the broccoli and half the cheddar, stir to coat, then tip into a high-sided, 20cm x 30cm baking dish.
Melt the remaining 20g butter and mix with the panko and remaining cheddar. Sprinkle over the chicken mix, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Leave to rest for five minutes and serve hot with rice or mash.
- Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay