This concept is loosely based on the classic dish, Beef Wellington, which sees fillet of beef smothered in a mushroom duxelles before being wrapped in pastry and baked in the oven. These pasties are a fair bit easier and quicker to prepare and see the chicken breasts wrapped in bacon to help keep them moist as they cook, as well as a very simple version of duxelles. The pasties can be eaten either hot or cold, with or without accompaniments.
Ingredients (Makes 2 Pasties)
- 12 to 15 small button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- Salt and pepper
- 2 medium sized skinless chicken breast fillets
- 8 strips of bacon (UK - use smoked streaky bacon), or as required
- ½ pound puff pastry
- Flour for rolling out pastry
- 1 small egg
- Little bit of vegetable oil for greasing roasting tray
Wash the mushrooms carefully in lukewarm water to remove any accumulated dirt. Dry them with kitchen paper before chopping them fairly finely with a sharp knife.
Measure out the olive oil in to a small saucepan. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the pan with a small hand grater. Season with some salt and black pepper. Put the pan on to a medium heat and saute the garlic for a minute or so to fully flavor the oil.
Add the mushrooms to the garlic and oil, reduce the heat slightly and saute for about seven or eight minutes until most of the water released from the mushrooms has evaporated. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to cool slightly for ten to fifteen minutes.
Suspend a fine sieve over a glass or stone bowl and pour in the sauteed mushrooms. Leave them to drain off in this way while they cool completely.
Chicken breast fillets vary considerably in size so although the ingredients list for this recipe specifies eight strips of bacon, do have a couple or more extra available just in case they are required for wrapping the chicken.
One strip at a time, wrap the bacon around the chicken to ensure it is completely or at least almost completely encased. The fattiness of the bacon both flavors the chicken and helps to keep it moist.
It's easiest to roll out the pastry for one pasty at a time. Cut your pastry block in half and flour a clean, dry surface. Roll out one piece of pastry - using more flour on the rolling pin as required - to a square just large enough that you can use a ten inch dinner plate as a template to cut from it a circle. Be careful about using an sharp knife to cut the pastry and potentially damaging your surface. It's best to use the blunt edge of a dinner knife.
Sit a bacon wrapped chicken fillet on one half of the pastry circle as shown in the image above. Make sure you leave a border around the edge about an inch wide.
Spoon half the cooled mushroom combination on to the chicken fillet and spread it out evenly. The easiest way to do this by far is with your hands. Break the egg in to a small bowl and beat with a fork just until the white and yolk are combined. Use a pastry brush to glaze the half circle border around the chicken package.
Fold the empty half of pastry over the chicken and crimp the edge with your thumb and forefinger or two forefingers. Try to ensure you do achieve a proper seal all the way around or the pasty may burst in the oven.
Roll out the second piece of pastry and form the second pasty in exactly the same way. Lift the pasties to a plate to let the pastry rest after rolling while your oven preheats to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.
Lightly oil a deep roasting tray with vegetable oil and a piece of kitchen paper. Sit the pasties on the tray and glaze all over with more beaten egg. Use a very sharp knife to cut a steam vent about an inch long in each pasty. Put them in to the oven for about twenty-five to thirty minutes until the pastry is a beautiful golden color.
When the pasties come out of the oven, they must be rested before they are eaten. It is best to lift them to a wire rack and let them sit for a minimum of ten minutes, though as previously mentioned, they are also delicious left to cool completely and eaten cold. If leaving them until the next day, do put them in a suitable dish once they are cooled and in to the fridge, removing them half an hour before they are due to be eaten to let them come back up to room temperature.
These herb seasoned roast potato wedges are delicious served with the chicken pasties and are incredibly easy to make. It should be noted only that the wedges require starting prior to the pasties if you are serving the pasties hot.
Take one medium to large baking potato per person and wash/scrub it thoroughly. Cut it in half length ways and cut each half in to four wedges. Steep the wedges in cold water for a minimum ten minutes to get rid of the excess starch. Drain them and put them in to a pot with plenty of fresh cold water and some salt. Bring the water to a simmer for ten minutes.
Drain the wedges through a colander at your sink and allow them to steam off for about ten minutes. Add them to a plastic dish in a single layer and refrigerate for about an hour.
Grind half a teaspoon of dried rosemary, half a teaspoon of dried thyme and some salt to a powder with a pestle and mortar or electric spice grinder.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large bowl and stir in the powder.
Add the wedges to the bowl and turn them gently around in the seasoned oil with a wooden spoon to ensure even coating.
Lay the wedges in a small roasting tray and put them in to the hot oven vacated by the wedges. Cook for thirty minutes, turning with tongs halfway through cooking.
Plate the cooked wedges with a pasty and enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal.