Back in May of 2009, before my life went to Hell in a handbasket emotionally, I made a trip to Taylor, Texas, with my sister and now-Ex to see my Aunt Norma Jo’s house and visit with family. Because we were close, we spent Saturday morning and afternoon with my then-MIL in Round Rock, mostly at the outlet mall then at IKEA. Between the outlet mall and IKEA, we ate lunch at a place called La Madeleine, a chain French eatery that we pretty much fell in love with right then and there. The ex had the croque monsieur (“French twist on the ham and cheese sandwich made with tender ham, warm Swiss and our savoury garlic cream sauce”), the MIL had soup and salad, I believe, and I had Chicken Friand with the strawberries Romanov on the side. The latter is something I’ll make one of these days and post here — it is so damned simple, it’s crazy. But the Chicken Friand…OMG. It was like sex in a puff pastry, and when you have puff pastry sex, you know you’ve died and gone to Valhalla.
Now, like with any recipe, when I looked or this on the internet, I found dozens of recipes, but I chose one of the simpler ones to start out with. There’s another that uses Gruyere cheese, and I might just try that one of these days, but tonight, I used this one from the blog Kitchen Vixen.
Poulet Aux Champignons Filling
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided*
1/t tablespoon olive oil
2 generous cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried herbs de Provence, divided
1-1/4 cup dry white wine, divided *I used Riesling because that’s what I had on hand in small bottles
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced *I used garlic flakes because I was out of fresh garlic, about 2 tsp
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup broth (chicken or mushroom is fine. Whatever you have on hand)
2 generous cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup each, heavy cream and whole milk *I just used the heavy cream this first go ’round
Thaw one sheet frozen puff pastry.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter* with olive oil, swirling to combine. Sauté mushrooms until they give off their liquid and it evaporates. Stir frequently. Toss in 1/2 teaspoon of herbs de Provence and sauté “until fragrant.” (I could smell them the minute they went in, so I gave it about 45 seconds.) Add 1/4 cup wine and cook until it evaporates. Transfer mushrooms to a small bowl.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and add onion to pan. Sauté until soft. Stir in garlic and remaining herbs de Provence, cook about 45 seconds. Whisk flour into pan to make a quick roux, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth and wine. Not all at once; you don’t want to overwhelm the roux. Let it absorb the liquid before adding more.
Stir in chicken and mushrooms and warm through. Stir in cream and milk. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add more milk. Frankly, I think thick sauce is good.
Take sheet of thawed puff pastry and put it on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut it diagonally. Spoon about 1/4 cup mixture onto half of the pastry and fold to make a large triangle. Brush with an egg wash. Bake friands in a pre-heated 350 to 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or so, until they’re golden on top. Serve with extra filling on top and salad on the side.
Okay. I also didn’t cut the puff pastry into triangles and what you see in the pictures is the result. In the future, I’ll try triangles (or even squares, whichever works), but in the long run, what this means is that while Kass and I ate one of these beautiful loaves tonight, divided between us, we have a second one for tomorrow night’s dinner and all I have to do is heat it and the remaining filling, which will go on top. Woo. Live and learn. Also, I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just sprayed a little Pam on the sheet I used, but in the future, I’m going to keep parchment paper on hand. The bottoms were a little crispier than they should have been (not burnt though). Otherwise, this was so good and I have one more new recipe under my belt that was a success.