chicken in pastry | friends for dinner

You’d be hard pressed to find a better movie than The Castle. A firm favourite in our family, we find ourselves quoting the film often. One of the best scenes is when Con and Trace come back from their honeymoon in Bali. Huddled round the living room, the two are quizzed on every aspect of the trip, down to the very last detail and especially about their flight (as the only two lucky enough to have flown in an aeroplane before).

Having their choice between fish and Beef Wellington on the way over, the others look inquisitively to their loving mum for an explanation of the dish. “Beef Wellington. What’s that darl?” asks Darryl, who endearingly raves about his wife’s cooking. “It’s beef done in pastry” replies Sal.

“And it was an absolute credit to the airline” adds Con sincerely.

I like to think that the Kerrigan’s would of found this slightly daggy chicken dish, pretty special indeed. A spin on the ol’ Beef Wellington, it’s the type of meal that would of taken pride of place in any early 90’s dining room for a special occasion.

It’s tasty, seriously easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time and goes perfectly on a cold winter’s night teamed up with some mashed potato (of course) and some peas. I guess you could describe it as a chicken Kiev, made even better because it’s wrapped in pastry. Using ingredients that were already in the fridge, the addition of the ever faithful mushroom sauce tops it off nicely.

I made this tonight for dinner at Mum and Dad’s, as we’re visiting for the school holidays and it went down a treat. Granted, they’re not harsh critics when it comes to food. There isn’t much Dad wouldn’t eat and Mum’s just happy to have the night off cooking. They seemed to enjoy it nevertheless.

So here’s my version of “chicken done in pastry”.

Reckon Con would’ve chosen this over the fish.

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chicken in pastry (serves 4-6)

4 x chicken breasts
4 x dessertspoons of butter
1 x teaspoon of crushed garlic
A good sprinkling of dried parsley
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 x sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 x egg

  • Preheat the oven to a hot 220℃.
  • Mix together the butter, garlic and parsley and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Trim the chicken breasts of any excess fat or sinew and cut a slit in the back.
  • Clumsily add the garlic butter in to the slit and fold the chicken breast over, adding a little more salt and pepper and butter to the top of the chicken breast.
  • Place on the puff pastry sheet and fold over to make a parcel. (Remove any excess pastry).
  • Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper (with the fold lines on the bottom).
  • Whisk the egg in a small bowl using a fork and brush over the pastry parcel using a pastry brush*.
  • Using a knife, cut a triangle in the top of the pastry (for heat to escape when cooking which will prevent the pastry from going soggy)**.
  • Cook in the hot oven for 20 minutes and then back the heat off to 180℃. Cook for a further 10-20 minutes until nicely golden brown***.

Serve with mashed potato, peas and the mushroom sauce.

mushroom sauce

1 x small brown onion, finely diced
A good handful of button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 x cup of thickened cream
1 x teaspoon of Dijon mustard
A sprinkling of dried parsley
A sprinkling of ground nutmeg
Salt and white pepper
A dash of olive oil

  • In a fry pan, add a dash of olive oil and sauté the onions until soft.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until softened.
  • Add the cream, mustard, parsley and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer over a low heat until nicely combined.

Lo’s tips

  • *Don’t worry if you don’t own a pastry brush, you can messily use a spoon or your hands instead to spread the egg over the pastry.
  • **You can also use the reserved pastry to make a decorative pattern on top of the chicken parcel. Be creative!
  • ***Check that the chicken is cooked nicely by slicing in to one of the chicken parcels. The cooking time will vary slightly on your oven and also on the size of the chicken breast, so watch them carefully as they’re cooking. You want to start them off in the really hot oven though to give the pastry a real head start.
  • You can serve the chicken as a whole piece or sliced. (You’ll be amazed at how filling the dish is. You won’t need a whole chicken breast per person).
  • You could also add some prosciutto to this dish. I’d wrap it around the chicken breast before rolling it up in the puff pastry. Yum!
  • Try adding some grated parmesan cheese to the butter mixture.

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If you make this chicken in pastry, please leave your comments below. xx

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