After the chicken I pulled from the freezer had thawed I discovered it was one large split chicken breast and not the two I thought it was. Since I knew there wasn't enough chicken to serve it as the main dish I knew I had to incorporate it into something. Initially I thought of stir-fry's and pasta dishes, but decided to look for a casserole recipe instead. There's something warm and comforting about a casserole in the winter. I typed the word casserole into the search box on Allrecipes.com and Chicken Florentine was at the top of the list. I've never eaten this dish but it sounded interesting. Below, you will find the original recipe I found on the site:
Chicken Florentine by
Looking over the ingredient list I had most of the ingredients but decided to create my own version instead. I didn't have mushrooms, mozzarella, or the canned soup. Since sauces are very easy to make I rarely buy condensed soups or sauce mixes. Although I had lemon it didn't sound good to me so I omitted it.
I began by browning 4 strips of bacon in a pan over medium heat. When they were crisp I put them on a paper towel to drain. The bite size pieces of raw chicken I had cut were added to the bacon drippings to cook. When they were cooked completely I removed them from the pan onto a paper towel to drain. In the very same pan I added a bag of frozen spinach. Typically I'm not a fan of cooked spinach, especially when it reminds me of the green goo with a metallic taste that was served with school lunches. GAG! If spinach is cooked correctly it is delicious. Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Spinach Quiche, and Spinach Dip are a few of my favorites.
While the spinach was thawing/cooking in the pan I began to create my sauce. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, I added 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter melted I added 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and whisked the two together to create a roux. After cooking about 5 minutes, to remove the flour taste, the mixture turned yellow. Ideally it is best to add hot liquid so that the butter in the roux doesn't clump. I added approximately 3 cups of cold milk to the roux to make a bechamel, or white sauce. Continually whisking until the milk warms allows the clumps will break apart. Just be sure to use 100% butter otherwise the sauce may separate.
When the spinach had thawed I added salt, pepper, and 4 minced cloves of garlic while continuing to cook over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, my goal was to evaporate excess moisture from the pan. The spinach wasn't 100% dry, but the water created by the melting process was no longer in the bottom of the pan. When it was completed I covered the bottom of a 13"x9" pan with the spinach and topped it with the chicken.
The white sauce began to steam and I added 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and 3/4 of a cup of freshly grated parmesan. Since the original recipe called for Italian seasoning I thought I'd take it a step further and create a semi-alfredo sauce as well. I say "semi" because typically alfredo sauce consists of butter, cream, parmesan, and parsley. When the cheese melts and the sauce nears it's boiling point the true thickness of the sauce will be created. Sauces and gravies created with four will thicken when the boiling point is reached. I recommend adding milk if the sauce is somewhat thick. It will go into the oven and condense some more. The sauce will go over pasta so create the thickness you desire.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and spinach. Sprinkle the top with a light layer of grated parmesan and finally crumbled pieces of bacon. Put the casserole into a 350 F oven for 20-30 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry. While in the oven, cook your favorite pasta to accompany the dish.
Top the pasta with the Chicken Florentine and enjoy. My husband, who usually turns his nose up at green vegetables, couldn't eat it fast enough. AND he finished the rest the following day.
- 1 large butterflied chicken breast
- 1 bag of frozen spinach
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 3 cups of milk
- 1 cup of parmesan
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 4 strips of bacon
Additional Recipes by Jennifer
5 Hour braise with only 3 ingredients.
Brining a turkey and rubbing it with a compound butter.
Winner of a HubNugget Award
Recipes for hummus, rye bread stuffing, and mom's cranberry sauce.