Chicken, Gruyere & pa­prika vol-au-vents,

Colin Fassnidge is cel­e­brat­ing our party is­sue with a retro food re­vival of the vol-au-vent, and is on the case to ex­plain to a con­fused An­thony Puharich just what it is they’ll be eat­ing.

delicious - - MENUS - Rob Dolan True Colours Chardon­nay 2015

C It’s the de­li­cious. party is­sue: en­ter the vol-au-vent!

A Ev­ery day is a party! Is it all right to ad­mit I don’t know what a vol-au-vent is? Never in my life have I had one.

C You have had a vol-au-vent, but you prob­a­bly called it a pie or some­thing. A No. Never. I don’t get it. C Right then, we’ll ed­u­cate you. We’ll start with chicken thigh meat for the fill­ing. A Yes, a great cut of meat – juicy, ten­der. C Ab­so­lutely, And we’re go­ing to poach the thigh fil­lets in stock so they’ll be re­ally nice and moist.

A Yeah, poach­ing thigh fil­lets al­ways keeps them nice and juicy, and thigh meat is al­ways the best bit of the chicken.

C For once, you’re right. Thigh is the best bit.

A Right. So, is this go­ing to taste nice? Is chicken what you put in a vol-au-vent?

C Yeah, or mush­room. But yeah, chicken is clas­sic. Chicken, like a veloute. A Okay, so it’s wrapped in pas­try? C Yeah, it’s like puff pas­try. Ev­ery­one buys ready-made vol-au-vent cases, and I’m no dif­fer­ent. A Store-bought cases? C No one makes vol-au-vent cases. Life is too short to make them; there’s too much rosé to drink. If you have time to make puff pas­try, I don’t want to know you. A Right. Why are we re­viv­ing these? C Be­cause ev­ery­thing that once was cool is now cool again. It’s like… our kids, who haven’t had vol-au-vents… we’re bring­ing our nos­tal­gia to the kids and they’re go­ing to own it. I still can’t be­lieve you’ve never had a vol-au-vent – it’s like say­ing you’ve never had a prawn cock­tail!

A I’ve had a prawn cock­tail! How come I missed out on vol-au-vents?

C You were up­stairs. Sit­ting on the stairs, look­ing down in your short py­ja­mas at the adults’ din­ner party.

A How much rosé have you had?


1L (4 cups) chicken stock 4 skin­less chicken thigh fil­lets 2 tsp olive oil 5 thin slices pro­sciutto 25g un­salted but­ter, chopped 2 tbs plain flour 2 cups (500ml) milk 2 tbs finely chopped tar­ragon leaves 1/ 3 cup (40g) finely grated Gruyere, plus ex­tra to serve 1/4 tsp smoked pa­prika (pi­men­ton), plus ex­tra to serve 24 store-bought vol-au-vent pas­try cases (from se­lected su­per­mar­kets and gro­cers) 1 egg, lightly beaten Chervil sprigs (sub­sti­tute tar­ragon

or pars­ley leaves), to serve Pre­heat the oven to 180°C.

To cook the chicken, place stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Add chicken and re­turn to the boil. Re­move from heat, cover and stand for 20 min­utes or un­til chicken is cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool. Finely chop chicken and toss through a pinch of salt flakes. Set aside.

Mean­while, place oil and pro­sciutto in a fry­pan over medium-high heat. When hot, cook pro­sciutto for 1-2 min­utes each side or un­til crisp. Re­move and drain on paper towel. Set aside for 5 min­utes to cool slightly, then finely chop 4 slices and place in a bowl. Break re­main­ing 1 slice pro­sciutto into small pieces and set aside.

To make the bechamel, melt but­ter in a saucepan over high heat. Add flour and cook, whisk­ing, for 2 min­utes or un­til thick­ened. Grad­u­ally add milk, whisk­ing well after each ad­di­tion. Bring to the boil, then re­duce to a sim­mer and cook, whisk­ing, for 3 min­utes or un­til thick­ened. Re­move from heat and stir through tar­ragon, Gruyere, pa­prika, chopped chicken and chopped pro­sciutto.

When ready to serve, ar­range pas­try cases on a bak­ing tray, brush with egg and bake for 6-8 min­utes or un­til golden.

Fill warm pas­try cases with warm or cooled chicken mix­ture. Sprin­kle with bro­ken pro­sciutto pieces, ex­tra Gruyere and pa­prika, and chervil, if us­ing, to serve.

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