I often wish I was a better food photographer. I have been improving but I know that I haven’t really been putting in the effort needed to significantly improve my photos. Really I need to stop wishing and get my butt in to gear and start practicing more. I have bought this book on food photography from the lovely Nagi of Recipe Tin Eats and am starting to put some of her tips into practice so hopefully you will see some improvements soon.
But in the meantime I am hoping you will forgive the not so beautiful photos of this French onion chicken because I would hate for your not to make it because the photos need improving. This is one of the best recipes I have ever made, assuming of course you like onions. If you don’t like onions then move along as this dish is heavy on onions.
They are such lovely caramelized onions. When I started cooking this I was a bit concerned about the volume of onion – half a pound for one person. But by the time you have let them cook down the amount seems just right and what is not to love about the health benefits of onions.
I was a bit worried that the sauce was a bit light on – it reduced very quickly with the amounts needed for one serve and the chicken would be dry. But putting the lid on the pot in the oven meant lovely tender chicken all topped with delicious gruyere cheese. If you have any gruyere cheese leftover then have a go at making this chicken, spinach and mushroom casserole with gruyere cheese – the amount of gruyere can be varied depending on how much you have leftover.
I ate my French onion chicken with some fresh crusty bread – the perfect accompaniment and no cooking required. What more could you want.
This recipe does take time to make so it is not a quick work day meal but it is a great dinner on the weekend when you are puttering around the house. The onions are what take the time to cook and you just need to stir occasionally as you get on with other things. Preparation time is about 10 minutes – mainly slicing the onions and the cook time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes – maybe a tad less. To make it in this time you need to get the chicken done while the onions are cooking. Don’t worry too much about having the chicken ready to go before the onions are done – you are going to get it heated up nicely in the oven.
The original recipe calls for two saucepans and one oven proof dish with a lid. You know I am lazy with my washing up – I don’t own a dishwasher. I used a fabulous multipurpose pan from Silampos I received for Christmas that can go on the stovetop and in the oven. Once my onions were done there was no need to move the onion mixture to an oven proof dish. I just popped the chicken and sauce on top and whacked it in the oven with the lid on. My dish was less soupy than the original but I was fine with that.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
- 2 tsps butter
- 225g (about ½ pound) of brown onions, sliced
- ½ a tsp of minced garlic (equal to half a clove)
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 tbs flour
- 2/3 cup of chicken stock
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 130g of chicken breast (skinless and boneless).
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup of gruyere cheese, grated
Cooking this for one I did reduce some of the cooking times. I only cooked the onions for 50 minutes – they looked done by then. When I add the broth to deglaze the pan with the onions, the broth soaked up pretty quickly so I only left it to cook for a couple of minutes. Similarly when I made the sauce with the balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard it reduced in a minute or so rather the 5 minutes suggested. I cooked the chicken in my oven for 15 minutes and it was perfectly cooked. Overall the cooking time was about one hour and twenty minutes. Preparation time was about 10 minutes – slicing less onions saves time.
Caloriewise not the lowest at 495 calories but so worth it for the flavours.