Chicken Vol au Vents

My motto is, if it’s good, it’ll be better wrapped in pastry. Never forget that. It’s served me well. So, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite comfort foods: chicken vol au vents. They’re basically little chicken pot pies minus the pie crust plus puff pastry. I’d say it’s a good trade-off. Although, there isn’t much in life I wouldn’t trade for puff pastry.

Anyway, my parents have been making these since I was little, so when I moved out on my own it was one of the first recipes I called my mom for. It’s quick and easy to throw together and makes great leftovers, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal. And a midnight snack. And a next day breakfast, if you live alone and have no scruples like me.

(Hi, Mom.) To make chicken vol au vents, you’ll need puff pastry shells, flour, milk or chicken broth, ::cough:: cream and butter ::cough::, Dijon mustard, mushrooms, peas, chicken, salt and pepper.

First, make a roux in a heavy saucepan by cooking flour and butter for a few minutes. It’s the basis of the sauce and will make it nice and thick, but you need to be sure to cook it long enough to get rid of the floury taste.

Now you can start to saute the mushrooms in some butter – they’ll add great flavor and color to the filling. When they’re done, season them with salt and pepper and set aside until you’re ready to add them to the sauce.

Ok. Back to the roux. Add some nice mustard to the mixture. You won’t necessarily taste mustard in the end result, but it adds some depth to the sauce.

Now. Listen carefully. You have a decision to make. You can either go down the milk route or you can use chicken broth to make your filling. This is a long standing debate in our house. My mom likes it with chicken broth. She says it has a richer flavor. My dad and I prefer it with milk because it’s deliciously creamy. Over the years we’ve found a compromise with chicken broth and a splash of heavy cream, which is what I’m showing here. Anyway, the decision is yours. There’s no wrong answer. You can’t go wrong. Call a family meeting. Talk it over. Let me know what you decide.

So, add half of whatever liquid you’re using and whisk to blend and stir constantly while bringing it to a boil. Continue to add more liquid until it has reached the desired consistency and then season with salt and pepper to taste. If you used chicken broth, you should add some cream at this point.

Now, add the mushrooms with their pan juice and the peas.

And chicken. I like to buy the whole rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, but have at it if you’d prefer to cook your own.

Now taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.

Cook the pastry shells according to the directions on the box, spoon the mixture into the shells and repeat as necessary. Hope you like them as much as I do!

Ingredients

  • Meat from one precooked chicken
  • 3 oz. flour
  • 1/2 – 1 quart whole milk or chicken broth and heavy cream (keep adding liquid until it’s as you like it)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 6 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 box Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry shells
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt 4 tbsp. butter in saucepan
  2. Add flour
  3. Stir over low heat for about 2-3 minutes
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Add ½ the milk or broth, whisking to blend
  6. Stirring constantly, bring sauce to boil
  7. Add more milk until desired consistency
  8. Add mustard and season to taste
  9. Slice mushrooms and sauté in remaining butter
  10. Remove mushrooms from heat and season
  11. Add mushrooms and pan juices to sauce
  12. Add peas
  13. Add chicken
  14. Cook shells according to packet directions
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Fiona

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