Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Seriously Tasty Dinner

Syrupy Chicken with Cauliflower and Chestnut Gratin

I may have outdone myself; I made the tastiest dinner tonight and tomorrow night is my husband's birthday. Honestly, it's going to be hard for me to something more delicious tomorrow night when tonight's yumminess will be so fresh in our memory. Oh well, that's tomorrow's problem. In the meantime lets get on to sharing the love.

I had been pondering how to dress up my 2 cauilflowers and chicken thighs which were waiting in the line to be given the treatment. I have been craving a cauliflower gratin, it has to be said, but it isn't exactly the healthiest side dish, so I had to get creative. I've been experimenting with an "eating well" magazine version of the gratin and today decided to use that as a base and add a few chestnuts which were needing used up also. Cauliflower and chestnut gratin was the result.

Since the cauliflower has mustard flavoring it, I wanted to echo those flavors with the chicken. I opened an Ellie Krieger book for inspiration and there sprung some maple mustard chicken thighs. With my 2 year old at my side, I got to work. We're having to carve out a new routine in our house at the moment; naps are a thing of the past, sadly. On the up side, my 2 year old is very interested in helping in the kitchen, so it looks like that's going to be our replacement activity.

The chicken recipe could not be quicker or easier and since it uses chicken thighs, is very forgiving to the forgetful Mum who may leave it in the oven a little longer than strictly necessary. The reason I'm particularly excited to share this recipe is because both of my girls (who seem to be going through a particularly picky phase) LOVED it! So much so, we decided to have a naming ceremony for the chicken; Syrupy Chicken was decided upon.

Hope it goes down so well at your table.

Cauliflower and Chestnut Gratin
( based on an eating well magazine recipe: )

My healthy version of Cauliflower Gratin (before broiling)

1 head of cauliflower cut into small florets
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
2 1/4 cups/ 530 ml non fat or 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used a Stonewall kitchen maple mustard...mmm)
1/2 cup cooked chestnuts, chopped
pepper to taste


  1. Place the cauliflower, garlic, salt and 2 cups /470ml of milk in a large pot over a medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for approx 5 minutes
  3. Meanwhile mix together in a bowl the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup cheese
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup/ 60ml milk, mustard, and flour, until smooth
  5. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the cauliflower from the pot and whisk in the flour muxture
  6. Stir until thickened and smooth then add the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and chives. Then stir back in the cauliflower and chives
  7. Preheat the broiler to high
  8. Place the cauliflower mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with the chestnuts, breadcumbs and cheese
  9. Broil until the top is golden and crispy
In the interests of cooking once and eating twice, I made double batch of the cauliflower gratin and used half of the cauliflower from step 6 to make cauliflower soup. I just added some vegetable broth (although chicken broth would be lovely with this). Then I used the hand blender to puree the soup. Delicious.

Serve with Syrupy Chicken...

Syrupy Chicken

Syrupy Chicken


8 chicken thighs (bone in or not)
1/2 cup grainy mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced finely to a paste
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Mix together the mustard, garlic, coriander and maple syrup
  3. Smear on top of each chicken thigh
  4. Roast for approx 30-45 minutes


  1. Just took some chicken thighs out of the freezer and wanted to log on and get this yummy recipe! I think I'm going to try it on the grill. The girls remember having this at your house. They really enjoyed it. Thanks!


  2. Oh good! I hope it turns out well.
    Let me know!