Cheesy chicken and broccoli underneath a crispy layer of bagel chips!

This recipe truly is pure comfort and is perfect for this time of year (it’s currently Halloween and I’m FREEZING). It’s also incredibly simple to make! Follow me…

close up shot of cheesy chicken broccoli bake with scoop taken out

Chicken, Bacon and Broccoli

These really are a gorgeous trio of ingredients. Add them to a cheesy sauce and top with bagel chips and it’s game over.

Preparing the broccoli

We’re actually going to roast the broccoli before mixing it into the sauce. I do this for a few different reasons:

  • Part-cook – to get the party started before finishing off in the bake.
  • Water – roasting helps pull out some of the moisture from the broccoli. This is an essential step so it doesn’t leak out too much water in the bake and turn it watery. This is also why we don’t steam or boil the broccoli.
  • Flavour – roasting the broccoli helps develop flavour. Those little charred bits are extra flavour!

As for the chicken and bacon, we’re going to start by frying the bacon and rendering down the fat. From there, we can use the fat to fry the chicken. I like using chicken thigh as it’s more fatty and flavoursome than breast and is much more robust during the double cooking (frying then baking).

Process shots: toss broccoli in oil, salt and pepper (photo 1), roast (photo 2), add bacon to pan (photo 3), fry (photo 4), remove and leave fat (photo 5), fry chicken (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make chicken broccoli and bacon

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli

We’re going to make the sauce with our standard butter, flour and milk, alongside some vegetable stock for some added flavour. From there, we’ll go in with the cheese, alongside some chives, Dijon mustard and nutmeg.

What kind of cheese should I use?

I like a mix of cheddar and gouda. I initially tried this recipe with all cheddar and found it slightly overbearing. The gouda mellows out the strong flavour and makes the sauce a little more creamy.

Process shots: melt butter and stir in flour (photo 1), whisk in milk and stock (photo 2), stir in mustard, chives and seasoning (photo 3), stir in cheese (photo 4), add chicken, broccoli and bacon (photo 5), stir (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make cheesy chicken and broccoli

Chicken and Broccoli Bagel Bake

To go on top of the filling we’re going to add some sliced bagel. This makes a gorgeous crispy/crunchy layer to go on top which is a huge step up from regular breadcrumbs!

What kind of bagel should I use?

I’ve used regular bagels and sesame-seeded bagels in the past – both are great! To film the recipe I actually used ‘red onion and chive bagels’ which I’m undecided whether I liked or not! If you’re unsure just go regular and branch out from there.

Process shots: halve bagel (photo 1), slice into chips (photo 2), add filling to baking dish and cool (photo 3), top with bagel chips then spray with oil and bake (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to make chicken broccoli bagel bake

close up shot of black serving spoon digging in to chicken broccoli bagel bake

Serving Chicken and Broccoli Bake

I don’t serve this with any Sides – I find it hearty enough as it is! Just let it cool for a couple of minutes before digging in, otherwise you’ll lose the roof of your mouth!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this chicken and broccoli bagel bake shall we?!

chicken and broccoli bake served on small white plate with silver fork

How to make Chicken and Broccoli Bake (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of cheesy broccoli chicken bake with portion taken out

Print

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

Cheesy chicken and broccoli underneath a crispy layer of bagel chips!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Western
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 – 5
Calories 753kcal

Equipment

  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Baking Tray (for broccoli)
  • Large Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Jug (for milk/stock)
  • Cheese Grater
  • 25cm x 17cm / 10" x 6.5" Baking Dish (or similar size)

Ingredients

  • 350g / 12oz Broccoli Florets (see notes)
  • 90g / 3oz Streaky Bacon, diced
  • 600g / 1.3lb boneless skinless Chicken Thigh, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 45g / 1.5oz Unsalted Butter
  • 45g / 1.5oz Plain Flour
  • 480ml / 2 cups Milk, at room temp
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 2 tbsp finely diced Fresh Chives
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • pinch of Nutmeg (optional)
  • 75g / 3/4 cup EACH: Cheddar, Gouda, grated
  • 2 Bagels (see notes)
  • Olive Oil & Oil Spray, as needed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
  • On a large baking tray, toss the broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until it begins to lightly char and soften (it will cook more later).
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat add the bacon. Fry until crisp with the fat rendered down, then remove and place to one side, leaving the fat behind. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken to the leftover fat (add a dash more oil if you need to). Season the chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, then fry until it builds up a golden crust and is just about cooked through (it will cook more later). Remove and place to one side.
  • Lower the heat back down to medium and melt in the butter. Stir in the flour to create a roux then gradually add in the milk and stock, whisking as you go to prevent lumps from forming. Stir in the mustard and chives, alongside a pinch of nutmeg and pepper (I don't typically add salt due to the bacon and stock). Bring to a gentle bubble, then turn off the heat and stir through the cheese. Once melted, stir through the broccoli, chicken and bacon. Pour into a 25cm x 17cm / 10" x 6.5" baking dish (or similar size) and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the bagels in half, then slice into chips around 1/4" thick. Neatly layer them over the filling, closing as many gaps as possible. Liberally spray with oil then place in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the bagel chips and deep golden and crispy with the filling bubbling around the edges. Rest for a couple of minutes then tuck in and enjoy!

Video

Notes

a) Broccoli – Just to confirm it’s 350g/12oz broccoli florets, not the whole broccoli. I used a giant 500g/1lb head of broccoli which produced 350g/12oz florets.

b) Cheese – I like a mix of cheddar and gouda. I initially tried will all cheddar and found it slightly overbearing. The gouda mellows out the strong flavour and makes the sauce a little more creamy. You’ll find gouda as a block in all supermarkets.

c) Salt – Go easy on the salt as the bacon and stock add enough already. If you’re at all wary just ensure you’re using unsalted butter and consider low-sodium stock.

d) Bagels – Regular bagels are fine. I’ve used sesame-seeded bagels which work perfectly too. For reference, each bagel is typically around 90-100g/3-3.5oz.

e) Calories – Whole recipe divided by 4.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.28g | Protein: 54.38g | Fat: 39.32g | Saturated Fat: 15.951g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.795g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.544g | Trans Fat: 0.724g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 853mg | Potassium: 1065mg | Fiber: 4.7g | Sugar: 11.4g | Vitamin A: 1454IU | Vitamin C: 79.2mg | Calcium: 474mg | Iron: 3.99mg

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