Saffron chicken gnocchi with Swiss chard

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Meat mains

Saffron chicken gnocchi with Swiss chard

Main Serves 2 40 min
Frying the chicken and then poaching it may seem a little laboured, but it achieves two good things. Browning in the pan creates lots of complex flavours as the sugars and proteins caramelise – these are called Maillard reactions. Poaching in the cream allows the saffron and bay to infuse into the chicken, while also cooking it gently. The chicken imparts its flavour to the cream as well, which intensifies when it is reduced in the final stages.

Ingredients

  • light olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ stock cube
  • 1 pot double cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 head Swiss chard
  • 75ml white wine
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 250g gnocchi
  • salt and pepper

Method

Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 35 min
  • Step 1

    Put a deep saucepan of water on to boil. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the frying pan. Season the chicken well on all sides and fry over a medium-high heat until nicely coloured all over, taking particular care to brown the skin.
  • Step 2

    While the chicken cooks, peel and finely slice the onion. Peel and chop or crush 2 garlic cloves. Ladle 250ml of boiling water from the large pan into the medium pan, crumble in ½ the stock cube and mix until dissolved. Remove the chicken from the frying pan, add another 1 tablespoon of oil and the onion. Cook gently for 10 minutes to soften well.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts into 1cm slices. They'll still be raw in the middle but don't worry. Add the sliced chicken to the pan of stock, pour in the cream and add the bay leaves and saffron. Bring to the faintest of simmers and poach the chicken for 5 minutes, until just cooked.
  • Step 4

    While the chicken poaches, wash the chard. Strip away the leaves and roughly tear them. Finely dice the stalks and add to the cooking onion for the final 5 minutes. Blanch the chard leaves in the pan of boiling water for about 1 minute, until wilted. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool immediately in cold water. Keep the water on the boil.
  • Step 5

    Add the white wine to the onion and chard stalks, allow to bubble and reduce by half. Sieve the cream and stock liquid from the chicken into the frying pan with the onion. Add the mustard and allow to bubble and reduce by half again. While the cream reduces, pop the gnocchi into the pan of boiling water. They should take about 4 minutes to cook and will rise to the surface when ready.
  • Step 6

    Squeeze as much water as you can from the chard leaves and chop them coarsely. Add the poached chicken and chopped chard into the frying pan. Drain the gnocchi and add that too. Toss everything together to coat in the canary-yellow sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if required.