This is good, homely, comfort food but, served in individual portions, it's elegant enough to serve at a supper party. It's also incredibly easy to make, especially if you use fresh or frozen bought puff pastry.
|For the filling:|
|1 lb (450 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs|
|1 oz (25 g) butter|
|1 small onion, finely chopped|
|6 rashers dry-cure streaky bacon, rind removed, cut into 1/4 inch (5 mm) strips|
|1 oz (25 g) flour|
|10 fl oz (275 ml) chicken stock|
|2 oz (50 g) chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced|
|2 fl oz (55 ml) creme fraiche or double cream|
|11/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley|
|salt and freshly milled black pepper|
|For the pastry:|
|9 oz (250 g) block of fresh or frozen and defrosted puff pastry|
|2 large egg yolks, beaten|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will also need a lightly greased baking sheet, 10 x 14 inches (25.5 x 35 cm), and a tape measure.|
This recipe is taken from The Delia Collection: Chicken
First of all, you need to trim the chicken into even-sized pieces - roughly 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes. Then melt the butter in a medium, deep-sided frying pan and fry the chopped onion over a medium heat until it has turned pale gold - about 4 minutes. Then, using a draining spoon, remove it to a plate. Now turn the heat up to high and add the strips of bacon and fry these, tossing them around a few times, for about 4 minutes, until they are really crisp. After that, transfer the bacon to join the onion on a plate and start to fry the chicken in the bacon fat. You'll need to do this in three batches, and each batch should take about 3-4 minutes to turn golden on all sides.
Now return the onion and bacon and all the chicken to the frying pan. Then, using a wooden spoon, and keeping the heat at medium, sprinkle in the flour and stir it in to soak up all the juices. After that, add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring as you add until all the stock has been incorporated. Then, as it comes to simmer, it will have thickened to a creamy sauce. At this stage, add the mushrooms, season well and then let it simmer at the lowest possible heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, giving it a stir from time to time.
Then, finally, stir in the creme fraiche or cream and the parsley, taste to check the seasoning and then leave it aside until it is completely cooled. Chill in the fridge.
All this can be done well ahead of time, but when you want to make the feuilletes, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400F (200C).
Allow the pastry to come to room temperature - this will take about 10 minutes, then roll it out until it measures 16 x 16 inches (40 x 40 cm) and then trim it to give four 7 x 7 inch (18 x 18 cm) squares. Gather up the trimmings and reserve these until later.
Now divide the cold filling among the four pieces of pastry, placing it in the centre. Next, brush the edges with the beaten egg yolk, pull up the opposite corners to meet in the centre so that what you have is in fact an envelope. Then pinch the seams together carefully, as you don't want them to burst open. Now make a small hole in the centre of each one to allow the steam to escape, then re-roll the pastry trimmings quite thinly and cut them into leaf shapes, making veins in the leaves with the back of a knife. Then arrange the leaves to decorate the parcels.
You can make the feuilletes up to this stage well in advance and chill them. Either way, they will need to go on a greased baking sheet, then brush the whole lot thickly with beaten egg yolk and bake on a high shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are a rich golden brown.
All this needs is a lightly cooked green vegetable or a salad.
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This is what I call comfort food - the kind of thing to make on a cold, grey winter's day. You can vary the vegetables if you like (I quite like it with mushrooms replacing half the leeks).
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