Dinner Party Gnocchi

I love having people over - I have been known to issue random dinner invitations to people I've just met. Generally, if I like you and find you interesting, I want to feed you. I've since developed an arsenal of dinner-party-ready recipes - sometimes I don't have time to flip through recipe books or search for a new recipe - I need something easy, delicious and quick.

I am ashamed to admit that this particular recipe pops up fairly often - I think I've made it for at least three recent dinner engagements. Smokey, creamy, satisfying - with a thread of blue cheese running through, it is special enough to make guests think you spent a good amount of time in the kitchen - while also ensuring that you don't. I used ready-made gnocchi, which also cuts down the time required in the kitchen substantially. The sauce is done in 30 minutes - more than enough time to get home from work at 18h00, cook dinner, freshen up and lay the table before 19h00. Hello, domestic goddess.

Serves 4

15g butter
250g streaky bacon, in small pieces
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
125g mushrooms, in thin slices

4 baby leeks or 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
5 stalks of fresh thyme, leaves removed
35g butter
200g blue cheese, crumbled

30ml (2 tbsp) cake flour
250ml full-cream milk
250ml cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

400g cooked, pre-made gnocchi

Place a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Melt 15ml butter and add the bacon, garlic, spring onions / leeks, mushrooms and chicken to the pan. Fry until the bacon starts to crisp and the chicken is cooked. Stir through the thyme leaves and remove from the heat.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt 35ml butter and add the flour. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil (still stirring), reduce the heat and simmer until it starts to thicken. Once thickened, add the blue cheese, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and bacon mixture to the sauce and stir to combine. Stir through the gnocchi just before serving.

All images taken with a Canon EOS 600D from Loot.co.za


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