Sheet-Pan Chicken & Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

November 18, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
Author Notes

This ultra-cozy, ultra-satisfying dinner proves that roast chicken and gratin are not only possible on a weeknight, they’re possible all on one sheet pan! The key is using a quick-cooking vegetable for the gratin (shaved cauliflower!) and staggering when the ingredients go in the oven. Start by quickly marinating bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in a spunky yogurt-mustard marinade spiced with paprika, then giving them a jump start in the hot oven. Next, assemble your cauliflower gratin directly on the hot pan around the thighs—complete with a crispy-crunchy-cheesy topping that’s arguably a gratin’s best part. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, and the gratin is golden (slide the sheet pan under the broiler if you want to crisp-up the chicken even more).

Using this recipe as a template, pretty much everything is customizable. Swap shaved broccoli or Brussels sprouts for the cauliflower. Use chicken drumsticks in place of the thighs, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (just reduce the cooking time in Step 3 to about 8 to 10 minutes). Let your spice cabinet guide the way: sumac, za’atar, ras el hanout, or garam masala would all be lovely fill-ins for the paprika.

Lastly, a tip for streamlining prep: Use the slicing blade of your food processor to shave the cauliflower or whatever vegetable you’re using, and the grater blade for shredding the cheese. No need to clean the bowl of the food processor in between! —EmilyC

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • For the chicken:
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (about 2.5 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons plain full-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • For the gratin:
  • 1 large cauliflower (about 2 pounds), stems and core removed, and florets very thinly sliced (see Author Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère or aged cheddar, divided (see Author Notes)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a bowl large enough to toss the chicken, mix mustard, yogurt, olive oil, paprika, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper until smooth. Toss the chicken in the marinade until evenly coated. (Make-ahead tip: The marinated chicken can be refrigerated for about 12 hours.)
  3. Transfer the chicken thighs, skin-side up, to a sheet pan (no parchment or oil is needed). Roast for 15 minutes. (Set a timer!)
  4. Meanwhile, prep the cauliflower gratin: Toss shaved cauliflower with paprika, 2 teaspoons olive oil, lemon zest, salt, Aleppo pepper, and 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. In a small bowl, combine panko with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, thyme, and several grinds of black pepper. Evenly drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the panko mixture (otherwise it’ll clump) and toss together until well mixed.
  6. Take the sheet pan out of the oven when the timer goes off, and remove chicken to a large plate. Add the cauliflower to the sheet pan and toss in the rendered chicken fat until evenly coated; distribute in a single, even layer. Return the chicken thighs (and any accumulated juices on the plate) to the sheet pan, nestling them amongst or on top of the cauliflower. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly over the cauliflower.
  7. Roast for 15 minutes longer, or until chicken is cooked through (165°F in the thickest part) and crumbs are golden.
  8. Optional but recommended: Slide the pan under the broiler for a minute or two to deepen the browning and crisping-up of the chicken skin and crumb topping; watch closely, it won’t take long!
  9. Serve warm, with lemon wedges on the side. I like serving this with a simple green salad on the side.

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Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.