Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chicken en Portobello Leek Champagne Crème Fraîche a la Vol au Vent

     A Rich Tasting Entrée For a Chilly Day!
     Today's recipe is similar to Chicken Vol au Vent entrées that I used to sell as a lunch special du jour at a French café back in the 1980's.  This item always sold well on a chilly day, because customers sought rich food during cold weather.  Because it was a lunch special, keeping the price low was a priority, therefore dark chicken leg meat is used to make this recipe.  Dark leg meat is much more tender than white chicken meat, so it is perfect for filling a Vol au Vent.
     Vol au Vent is a classic puff pastry shape.  Vol au Vent basically translates to "wind blown or airy."  This means that the finished Vol au Vent should be light as a feather.
     Pre-made frozen Vol au Vent products can be found at a grocery store and they are a nice convenience.  The only problem is that concessions on quality are made in order to ensure that they will not be damaged during packaging.  In other words, a pre-made Vol au Vent is usually rather small and hard.
     Pre-made store bought frozen puff pastry dough sheets can be used to make a Vol a Vent.  The Vol au Vent in the photos was made with a frozen puff pastry sheet.  The advantage is that the Vol au Vent can be made any size.  Frozen puff pastry sheets are fairly consistent in quality and they are easy to work with.
     For those who have plenty of time to spare, making puff pastry dough from scratch is an option.  The puff pastry making process is fairly easy to accomplish, but the dough must be thoroughly chilled between each step and this takes plenty of time.   If you prefer to add your own signature touch when making a Vol au Vent, then follow this link to the puff pastry recipe in this Classic Cuisine Website:  • Pâte Feuilletée (French Puff Pastry Dough) and Blitz Puff Pastry Dough       
     Vol au Vent:
     This recipe describes shaping 1 Vol au Vent.
     Frozen pre-made puff pastry dough is fine for this recipe.  
     Step 1:  Place a sheet of puff pastry dough on lightly flour dusted countertop.
     Use a 4" serrated ring mold to cut two round shapes of puff pastry dough.
     Step 2:  Center a 3 1/4" ring mold on one of the 4" round dough shapes.
     Press the ring mold to cut a small round shape and an outer ring shape.
     Step 3:  Place whole 4" round puff pastry shape on a parchment paper lined baking pan.
     Brush it with egg wash.
     Step 4:  Place outer ring shape puff pastry dough on the egg washed 4" round piece.  Be sure that the edges are flush.
     Place the small round piece on the center.
     Lightly brush the assembled Vol au Vent puff pastry dough with egg wash.
     Step 5:  Place the pan in a 375ºF oven.
     Bake till the pastry puffs up and it is a golden brown color.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Let the Vol au Vent cool to room temperature.
     Either pry the small center round section out (or gently press the small round center section down) to create a Vol au Vent cup shape.
     Set the finished Vol au Vent aside where it will not be damaged.

     Chicken Leg Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select 1 average size whole chicken leg and thigh section.
     Season the chicken leg section with sea salt and black pepper.
     Place the chicken leg on a small roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast the chicken leg till it is fully cooked.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature.
     Remove the skin and discard it.
     Pull the chicken leg meat off the bones.
     Cut the chicken leg meat into thin strips.
     Chill the chicken strips till they are needed later in the recipe.
     Chicken en Portobello Leek Champagne Crème Fraîche:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (About 1 2/3 cups.)
     Leftover champagne is perfect for this recipe.  Cheap champagne is a good choice too.  
     Step 1:  Heat a braising pan (or deep sauté pan) over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 3 tablespoons of chopped leek.
     Add 1/3 cup of portobello mushrooms that are cut into petite wedges.
     Gently sauté and sweat the leeks and mushrooms till they are tender, but not browned.
     Step 2:  Add the reserved chicken leg meat strips.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Gently sauté till the chicken warms.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of dry champagne.
     Simmer and reduce the champagne by half.
     Step 4:  *Combining cream with sour cream yields crème fraîche!
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Add 1/3 cup of sour cream.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 5:  Keep the Chicken en Portobello Leek Champagne Crème warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.  (Add a small splash of milk if the sauce becomes too thick.)
     Chicken en Portobello Leek Champagne Crème Fraîche a la Vol au Vent:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Place the Vol au Vent on the front half of a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Chicken en Portobello Leek Champagne Crème Fraîche into the Vol au Vent, so it overflows.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley leaves.

     A Vol au Vent presentation adds elegance to French comfort food!

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