I’ve been having an argument with my family for years. It has become as much of a tradition for us as mince pies or Mariah Carey and it revolves around stuffing. They insist that the packet stuff is good enough for them, and no amount of my homemade stuffing, with pork sausagemeat, chestnuts, cranberries and orange zest, can convince them otherwise. So this year, in the spirit of festive magnanimity, I’m forgoing it altogether. Instead, I’ve come up with this, a kind of dauphinoise made with parsnips and chicken that could standout as a new side dish for celebratory meals. Wish me luck with the family critics!
Parsnip and chicken dauphinoise
This would also make a delicious winter main, served with steamed kale or cabbage alongside.
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
1.2kg parsnips, peeled, topped and tailed, then thinly sliced with a mandoline to give 900g
4 boneless chicken thighs (keep the skin)
1½ chicken stock cubes
350ml double cream
200ml soured cream
1½ tbsp dijon mustard
½ tsp fine salt
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
3 pinches black pepper
75g parmesan, grated
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Put the parsnips in a large pan of boiling water and cook for five minutes until starting to soften. Drain and lay them out on a wire rack to cool and dry.
Chop the chicken thighs into chunks of about 2½cm, then fry on a high heat for five minutes, until browned. Remove from the pan, pour out any fat (save it for greasing the roasting dish later), then deglaze the pan with the stout. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan set over a medium heat. Bring everything to a gentle simmer, then remove the pan from the heat.
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Grease a roasting dish with the reserved chicken fat, then arrange a layer of parsnip slices to cover the base. Scatter over half the chicken pieces followed by another layer of parsnips, then the remaining chicken and finally the rest of the parsnips. Pour the cream mixture over and put in the oven for one hour; after 45 minutes, scatter with the breadcrumbs and return to the oven for the final 15 minutes of cooking.
Smooth the chicken skin out flat on a baking tray, brush the surface with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. During the final 15 minutes of cooking, leave it to crisp up on the bottom shelf of the oven until browned and blistered. Once cool, break apart by hand, scatter over the surface of the dauphinoise and serve.