Vol-au-vents with a Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Filling
These wonderful little snacks are easy to make and the combination of chicken, mushrooms and white sauce gives these homemade vol-au-vents a great filling. You can either serve these hot, warm, or cold; they are great served at any temperature. If you want a glossy finish, you can brush egg on to them before baking. Chicken broth added to the pastry recipe adds extra flavor and will suit this vol-au-vent recipe, but that is optional.
Chicken and mushrooms are served together in many different recipes, both appetizer and entree recipes. You can combine chicken and mushrooms if you are making tartlets, soup, curry or another dish because the earthy mushroom flavor and the mild taste of the chicken are great partners. Use chicken breast, chicken thigh meat or any kind of chicken you have. If you happen to have leftovers just use those but pick them over first to remove any pieces of bone.
If you have the time and the inclination, you might want to try making your own pastry, rather than using store-bought. This recipe yields a pound of rough puff pastry, which tastes just like regular puff pastry but is easier to make. You will need fifteen minutes to make it and an hour chilling time. Whatever dough you do not use will keep well in the freezer, wrapped in plastic, for up to a month. You can halve this recipe if you prefer to make less.
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons frozen, unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons ice water
- 4 oz cooked chicken, flaked and finely chopped
- 4 oz sliced mushrooms
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- ½ oz butter
- ½ pint white sauce
- 12 cranberries
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Parsley and chives to garnish
- First make the pastry. Sift the salt and flour together into a large mixing bowl. Roughly grate the butter and toss it all together to mix well. Add the ice water and stir everything together with a fork. Sprinkle flour on to a work surface (cold marble is great for making pastry!) and turn the dough out on to it. To make the dough flakier, smear the dough all over with the heel of your hand. Roll it into a ball and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes. Try not to over-handle the dough. Be as quick as you can when working with it.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape. Have the long sides running horizontally. Fold the top third down over the rest. Fold the bottom third up so the folded edges touch. Fold the left side of the dough to the right side and pinch the seam. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape again and repeat the folding. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and return to the freezer for another 20 minutes. Roll the dough out and repeat the sequence of folding again. Wrap the dough in plastic again and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes. It is now ready to be rolled out and used.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut 1 ½ inch rounds from the puff pastry sheets and line 12 holes of a lightly greased muffin pan. Prick each base with a fork. Grease the outside of another muffin pan and put this inside of the first one. Bake until the pastry is golden. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove the top muffin pan and, using a teaspoon, press the risen pastry back down to make a case. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then lay them on a wire rack to completely cool.
- Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms in the butter until they are soft. Stir in the white sauce and chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring this mixture to the boil and let it cool a bit. Spoon the mixture into each pastry. Decorate each one with a cranberry and a sprig of parsley. These are nice hot or cold.
As you can see from the picture, these little vol-au-vents look very appetizing. The mushroom and chicken mixture in a creamy sauce is the perfect filling and whether you serve these hot, warm or cold, there is no doubt that they will be well received. Making your own homemade tartlets is more rewarding than buying readymade ones at the store and just heating them up. Your dinner guests will be able to tell they are homemade and they will be very impressed. Of course you do not have to tell them how simple they were to prepare! Just enjoy the praise.
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