Chicken Breasts with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Spinach, and Fontina Gratin

by Liz on January 6, 2011

Chicken Breasts with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Spinach, and Fontina Gratin

I’m in a rut.  I’m eating a ton of chicken lately, and it’s not because I finally got around to starting my first ever New Years diet resolution. Can someone please clue me in on how to be a food blogger but also not have all my pants gradually get tighter and tighter? Anyway, the chicken rut. I can’t seem to get away from chicken. So, rather than fight it, I thought I’d share one of the better chicken recipes I’ve made lately, but let me confess this one I made before I started the calorie counting.

Slicing potatoes.

Try to say it like an Italian.

Awhile back, I picked up a cookbook called Kitchen Life by Art Smith. I believe he is/was Oprah’s personal chef and I think he has some restaurants that the Obamas like to go to.  All that aside, I love this cookbook.  Everything I’ve made from it has turned out great, and it’s full of great tips and techniques to make cooking easier.  Everything is pretty family friendly and not too fancy, though he does like to throw in a few things to give a dish some finesse.  Hence, the cheese Fontina Val D’aosta.  There are a lot of imitation Fontinas out there, and they are fine, but nothing packs the punch like the real deal.  Fontina Val D’aosta is a washed-rind, raw milk, Italian cheese.  It’s full of flavor, and perfect for this gratin.

Grated Fontina

Frying the potatoes.

What I really loved about this gratin was the play between the tomato sauce and the potatoes. There was something definitely Italian-y (look, I’m no expert) about this, without it being a pasta dish, which was quite welcome. I have to admit I overcooked the chicken a little bit, but otherwise, this gratin was a real winner and a great option for an easy, tasty, weeknight dinner.

Layering the Gratin

Chicken Breasts with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Spinach, and Fontina Gratin

Chicken Breasts with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Spinach, and Fontina Gratin
Adapted from Kitchen Life by Art Smith

I sort of tried to cut the recipe in half, since it seemed like too much food for my husband and I, especially since I don’t like leftovers. Also, I added some Parmesan at the end, even though it’s not in the original recipe.  If you can’t find Fontina Val D’aosta, then feel free to use all Parmesan.  Also, I recognize the Fontina is a little bit pricey, but most of the other items in the recipe are inexpensive, so I think it’s a good splurge.


3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 pounds yukon gold potatoes, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
1 small onion, diced
1/4 lb - 1/3 pound piece of Fontina Val D’aosta, grated
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess water (you might not need it all, depending on how much spinach you like)
3/4 cup marinara sauce
One whole chicken breast (about 1 pound) cut into four pieces and lightly pounded to uniform thickness
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking dish with oil cooking spray.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring often and separating pieces that stick together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Once the potatoes are lightly browned, add the onion, stir a bit, and cover.  Cook about 7 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spread half of the potatoes in the baking dish, then top evenly with half of the grated Fontina. Evenly scatter all the spinach (however much you want: I used about 8 oz.) on top of the cheese. Spread on the rest of the potatoes, and then spread on the marinara sauce.

Wipe out the skillet with some paper towels, then heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with some salt and pepper and brown in the skillet for about 2 minutes on each side. Arrange the chicken on the potatoes and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Bake the dish for about 20 minutes (check after 15 minutes) until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is firm to the touch or registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  I didn’t cover when baking but since the chicken was a bit dry to me, I might try covering it until the last 5 minutes.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz January 24, 2011 at 10:37 am


So glad you found me! SK is my favorite food blog to be sure. Can’t wait to make french onion soup someday!

Lauren January 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

This looks super delicious. In keeping with the theme of butter & onions, you should toooootally make Julia Child’s french onion soup.

(btw, I found you through smittenkitchen. Your blog name is fantastic.)

carolyn January 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm


Ingrid January 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

This looks really good. :)

Liz January 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I have decided that I am totally making this again, but next time using chicken thighs. But the vegetable part of this was so good, I might just make it on its own as a side dish.

foodies at home January 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Oh man…drool…I might have to try this pronto!

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