Cooking with puff pastry

PuffPastry5

Allow me to introduce you to my most lazy way of putting dinner on the table: putting all the ingredients into puff pastry and baking it, then serving it like I actually took time to make something. I’m sure it has to do with my status as a water buffalo right now, but I’m not particularly committed to slaving over the oven for hours on end right now. So, I cut corners while trying to make sure my family is fed. Here’s what I came up with!

Other benefits of cooking this way – these little hot pockets are easy to transport and reheat, making for delicious lunches. I started doing this with my Thanksgiving leftovers, my addictive Turkey Empanadas, and now I can’t seem to stop. Here are two new faves.

Sweet Potato Dumplings with Goat Cheese and Honey

I like to think of these as a poor man’s perogy – something I haven’t gotten my hands on yet here in Switzerland. It’s not the same thing, but they have yummy potato insides, wrapped with warm flaky pastry outsides so I’m not complaining. While these are recommended as appies, I felt served with a side salad it makes for an okay light meal.

Ingredients

1 egg

1 tbsp. water

1 ea. medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 dash freshly ground black pepper

1 pkg. (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese (about 1 cup)

1 tbsp. honey

1 sheet of puff pastry

PuffPastry3

Heat the oven to 400°F (200C).  Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Stir the potato, garlic, thyme, oil and black pepper in a medium bowl.  Spread the potato mixture on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the potato is lightly browned and tender.  Pour the potato mixture into a medium bowl.  Coarsely mash the potato mixture with a fork.  Let the potato mixture cool for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and honey.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Using a round cutter, cut the pastry sheet into 9 (3-inch) circles.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon potato mixture in the center of each pastry circle.  Brush the edges of the pastry circles with the egg mixture.  Fold the circles in half over the filling.  Pinch the edges firmly to seal.  Using a sharp knife, cut a small slit in the top of each filled pastry.  Place the pastries onto 2 baking sheets.  Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

PuffPastry4

Chicken Wellington Puff Pastry

These are a little heartier than the sweet potato dumplings, but really delicious. I changed up the recipe some, using creme fraiche instead of cream cheese, but I don’t think it harmed the taste. I’m sure it was a little lighter, but just as delicious.

Ingredients

2 
sheets puff pastry

8 
small cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 
tablespoons butter

2 
tablespoons oil

salt

pepper

1 
large onion, finely chopped

1 
tablespoon fresh minced garlic

1⁄2
lb fresh button mushrooms,sliced

2 
tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1
cup crème fraiche

2 
tablespoons dijon mustard

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp water

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Heat butter and oil in a skillet. Add in onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms; saute until the mushrooms lose their moisture and the onions are tender.

Stir in parsley.

On a floured surface, roll out puff pastry sheet to a square. Cut into smaller squares.

Place each breast over each puff pastry square.

Set oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl combine the softened cream cheese with mustard, then spread over each breast.

Then top with about 2-3 tablespoons mushroom/onion mixture.

Brush the edges of each pastry square with water.

Wrap pastry around the chicken breast, pressing edges to seal tightly.

Place seam-side down on greased baking sheets.

Brush the tops with egg wash.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Serve with mushroom sauce over the Wellington or on the side of the plate.

PuffPastry2

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