Friday, 8 February 2013

Chicken Wellington for Valentines!


How do I love thee, let me count the ways! Valentines is on it's way. I am thinking a "Chicken Wellington".....much like a "Beef Wellington" featured on December 26, 2012, http://www.sewwhatscookingwithjoan.com/2012/12/beef-wellington-for-new-years-eve.html I am thinking light, as to NOT be tired or sluggish. Fried foods, meats with a high fat content, and oily snack foods, such as cheese curls, corn chips and potato chips, can bring on the yawns. That's because you are making your digestive system work harder than usual to process the fats. Eating a meal of high-fat meat, sauces, and cheese toppings can really make you feel robbed of energy once you leave the table. So, my theory is if you are planning a evening with your hunny of dinner, dancing and DOT, DOT, DOT...................well need I say more?



Chicken Wellington 
adapted from Eva Kenly 

Make 8 servings. This recipe can easily be cut in half.

8 chicken breast halves, boned and skinned
3 lb. mushrooms, chopped (I used a mixture of wild mushrooms and button)
6 T. chopped shallots
4 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 T cognac
1/2 c. chopped parsley
16 phyllo sheets (buy your phyllo at a store that has a high turnover, as the phyllo when old, dries out and cracks easily) (You can substitute Puff pastry, if you prefer. In that case cut out little hearts or other decorations for the top)
1/2 c. melted unsalted butter

Sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 1/4 c. chicken stock
3 T. cognac
1/4 c. heavy cream

Pound chicken breasts gently between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness. Set aside.



Make mushroom duxelles.



In a large saute pan, melt butter, add shallots, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until they look dry. This will take about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add cognac, and cook again until all liquid has evaporated. Mix in chopped parsley and cool.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 400F
Line sheet pan with Silpat or parchment paper.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken breast.




Place a damp tea towel or a thin, flat cutting board on counter, cover with plastic wrap, place phyllo on top of plastic, cover with another plastic sheet and another towel.


Take out one sheet at a time. Brush with melted butter, layer another sheet on top, brush with melted butter, one more so that there are 3 sheets all brushed with butter. Place the chicken breast about 3 inches from one end, fold ends in and roll up. Brush outside of package with butter. Butter another sheet of phyllo, put the package in the middle and bring up all sides  and rumpling it on top.



 Don't worry this will look ruffled and pretty when it bakes. Butter the outside carefully, catching the ruffles as best you can. Repeat with all chicken breasts. Refrigerate at this point. This must be assembled same day as to avoid contamination. When ready, take out of refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking. Let sit a room temperature.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. If the tops brown quickly, place a piece of foil over the breasts to stop the browning but to allow the chicken to fully cook.

While chicken is baking , prepare the sauce.

* I make the full recipe for sauce, even if I am only making 4 breasts. 



 In a saucepan, melt butter and cook flour until golden brown. Use medium-low heat for this.

Stir in chicken stock, cognac, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens, then add the cream and just heat through.

If you have left over mushrooms duxelles, you can add to the sauce.


~This is an amazing dish, elegant and easy. I have served many times over the years and got rave reviews every single time.


What better way to show someone your love them than making a lovely dinner at home.......................



My brother-in law, Ed cut this heart shaped board in 1998, when we decided to start logging where we are on Valentines day. It is fun to look back and see where we have been! The darker lettering is the result of my new wood burner I bought for my gourd art. The gourd art teacher told me I had a boy scout burner, now I have the professional burner! We tried to remember where we were on Valentines day back to the first one, which isn't entirely accurate. Yes, we did go to Snoqualmie Pass and spend a lovely night, however, the actual day of Valentines was spent at Wee Bear's home, when he made me "Chicken and wine sauce" Feb. 1, 2013 blog. http://www.sewwhatscookingwithjoan.com/2013/02/chicken-in-wine-sauce-wee-bear-style.html

Yes, that's me preparing for yoga doing a teaser (pilate core exercise) Wee Bear and two others joined in, it was so perfect with the ocean waves splashing against the rocks and the view looking out over the Carribean. We have been here four days and already I am relaxed and enjoying the Caribbean vibe!


From our home in the Caribbean for the next few weeks...........

Cheers!
JJ

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