This One Pot Creamy Chicken and Squash Gratin is a perfect dish for autumn and winter when butternut squash and leeks are in season. It's also a really handy way to use up any leftover roast chicken and leftover bread. If you don't have any leftover chicken, you can of course cook the chicken from scratch.
A gratin is a dish with melted cheese and breadcrumbs as a topping which gives it a lovely tangy crust. I've added pasta to this gratin to make it go further and turn it into a real one pot dish. You can of course leave the pasta out and just cook a chicken and butternut squash gratin if you prefer. It's enough on it's own but I always like to serve my meals with something green as it brightens the plate up. You can use green salad or any green vegetable in season - which is most of them. Try green beans, broccoli, cabbage or garden peas.
The most sustainable chicken you can buy is organic chicken. If you can't manage this, then look for locally sourced free range. All meat is not the same, either in price, quality, taste, animal welfare or impact on the environment. For more information on this, check out my Eating Sustainably page. Whilst we are all encouraged to eat less meat, it is also important we don't waste any and this is a great dish for using up leftovers. For more ideas on using up leftover chicken, check out the links at the bottom of the page.
Butternut squash and leeks are in season primarily in autumn but also in winter. Eating food in season is important and is better for us and the environment. Vegetables start to loose some of their nutritional content when they are picked. Eating them in seaon when they haven't been in storage means we are getting the best nutritional benefit from our food. Putting food into storage means using energy to keep it cool. Eating in season avoids these energy costs and is better for the planet. If we can buy food from local sources, then we are also reducing our food miles as well as supporting our local economy, which is the best all round solution.
Storing Chicken and Squash Gratin
If you are in a hurry, you can make this dish ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 24 hours. Remember though that meat should only be re-heated once. Once cooked, you can store this Creamy Chicken and Butternut Squash Gratin in the fridge for 2 days. Because of the cream, this dish won't freeze very well as the cream sauce will separate and the texture will become grainy. It will still be safe to eat, but the texture won't be that nice, so I wouldn't recommend it.
One Pot Creamy Chicken and Squash Gratin
- 400 g penne organic
- 2 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 1 onions organic, peeled and diced
- 2 leeks organic, trimmed and diced
- 450 g butternut squash organic peeled, de-seeded and diced into 2cm cubes
- 350 g diced chicken
- 500 ml reduced fat single cream organic
- 4 teaspoon thyme fresh, organic, leaves only
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- 100 g crusty bread organic
- 100 g mature cheddar cheese organic, grated
- 400 g green beans organic, or other seasonal green veg optional
- Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the pasta as per the packet ingredients, then drain.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion, leeks and squash for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan.
- If you're using raw chicken, remove the veg from the pan to create some room and fry the chicken until browned. If using leftover chicken just add it in with the veg.
- Put everything back in the pan and stir in the cream and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an oven proof casserole dish. Don't leave the cream simmering for too long or it will evaporate.
- Break the crusty bread into bite sized chunks and sprinkle over the top of the casserole together with the grated cheese.
- Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, until the bread turns golden and the filling is bubbling. Prepare the green veg if using and serve.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.