From Food and Drink Spring 2016.
8 to 10 slices mild provolone or havarti cheese
10 slices Italian bread, not a thick sliced variety
3 to 4 tbsp soft butter
1 purchased roasted or barbecued chicken, about 900 g cooked weight
175 to 250 g thin fresh asparagus or green beans
2 tbsp butter
1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
3 fresh spring carrots, diced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
125 g cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (about 5 to 6 large)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 to 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme or torn basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Make 5 cheese sandwiches placing a double layer of cheese inside the 2 pieces of bread per sandwich. Lightly spread bread exteriors with butter; grill over medium low heat until bread is barely golden and cheese is just sticking to bread. Cool and cut into 1 inch dice; there should be 8 to 10 cups.
- Pull apart chicken into bite sized pieces. There should be about 4 cups; discard skin and bones. Reserve any juice for sauce.
- Cut tips off of asparagus; reserve tips for garnish. Slice asparagus or green beans into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add leeks and carrots; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until leeks wilt. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Slowly stir in broth and any juices from chicken; add mushrooms. If using green beans, add now.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in asparagus and chicken. Spread hot filling in a 9 inch baking dish or similar size gratin dish with a capacity of 7 to 8 cups. Evenly top with croutons, crust sides down, and tuck in reserved asparagus tips.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes in oven centre or until filling is bubbling and top is crispy and golden.
Serves 4 to 6