Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Dinner: Chicken Friand

I know, it's been a long time. I don't even have the excuse that I don't have any food pictures to share. I do. It's just ... laziness. I'm not going to lie: it's winter and I don't like being in my kitchen. I hate that I don't want to be in my kitchen when I love being in my kitchen. But when I can see my breath and washing veggies freezes my hands, it's hard to want to do it.



A good impetus is the resumption of Friday night dinners. I can't let Trix make yummy, homemade things while my contribution is takeout or pb&j sandwiches, can I? Of course not. But that doesn't mean my post-vacation apathy about blogging is as easily dismissed. (Though I did change the layout a bit -- just a subtle stretching.) Well, maybe not so much apathy as just getting back into the habit. That said, let me say that the recipe I'm sharing today is actually one that we made last week. Hey, it's only a week late -- that's not so bad, is it?

What we made was chicken friand, and it was delicious. The recipe makes 6 pastries, and even if you're just cooking for 1 or 2 people, like me, you'll want to make all 6. Why? Well, as mentioned before, they're delicious. On top of that, they freeze well. So the initial effort of making them yields multiple yummy, hot meals.



Essentially, puff pastry is stuffed with a mixture of chicken, gruyere cheese, and mushrooms, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary. It's then baked until puffy and golden brown, and topped with a thick mushroom gravy. It's perfect cold weather food.



I'm normally not a huge fan of rosemary, but it works well here. In future I may add just a tad less than the recipe calls for, but would otherwise not change a thing. The sauce is especially wonderful, though it thickens after the first day and needs to be thinned out for subsequent reheating (and doesn't freeze all that well). But it's so good and easy that it may be my new go-to gravy for just about anything, including mashed potatoes.



Chicken Friand

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2-2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2oz dried shiitake, porcini, or mix of dried mushrooms
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3 large scallions, white and greens, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (such as white button or cremini), chopped
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (milk or half/half)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Method
  1. Pour chicken broth into a bowl and rehydrate the dried mushrooms in it for as long as it takes to fully hydrate the mushrooms -- varies depending on the size of the mushrooms you're using (my shiitakes took about 30 min). When they're hydrated, squeeze the broth out of the mushrooms, chop them up, and transfer them to another container. Set both aside.
  2. In a large pan with a lid, melt 2 tbsp of butter and saute scallions and garlic in it. Add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms and saute until cooked. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. When done, transfer the mushroom mixture to another container.
  3. Clean out the pan, then melt the remaining 4 tbsp of butter in it. Add 4 tbsp flour, stir in well and cook 1-2 minutes to make a roux. Slowly pour the mushroom-infused chicken stock into the roux, stirring all the while to keep lumps from forming. Set the sauce to barely simmering, and stir every few minutes. When it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, reduce heat to low, stir in the cream, and place the lid on it. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  4. In a large bowl, add the diced chicken and 1 tsp dried rosemary. Add 1/2 of the mushroom mixture. Add the shredded Gruyere, reserving a tbsp or two for the sauce (or none, if that's your preference). Take 2-4 tbsp of the sauce and add it to the chicken mixture -- just to wet the mixture a bit and help combine everything evenly.
  5. Unfold a sheet of thawed puff pastry and roll it out to thin the dough, about 3 times each way. Cut the dough into thirds.
  6. Mound a generous 1/2 cup of filling on half of each dough piece, leaving room around the edges to seal. Wet the edge around the filling with egg wash, fold the other half over to encase filling, and use the tines of a fork to press it closed.
  7. Brush the tops of each pastry with egg wash. (At this point, the raw, filled pastries can be flash-frozen on a parchment-lined tray, then individually wrapped and bagged for long-time freezer storage. Thaw pastry before baking.)
  8. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. The pastries should puff and turn golden brown.
  9. While the pastries are baking, add the other half of the mushroom mixture to the sauce and stir in. Optionally you can add a bit of Gruyere (if you reserved any) here as well. There should be about 1/4 cup sauce for each pastry.

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