"Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is."
- Irish Proverb
Vol-au-vents are baked puff pastry cases that can be filled with any stuffing, usually creamy in base. You can either bake them from start following the cooking instructions on the packet or if in a hurry, then pick up pre-baked cases at the supermarket. Chicken and mushroom cream base is my favourite, is simple to prepare and is full of flavor. Best assembled right before serving where a spoonful of hot chicken and cream sauce is poured into the vol-au-vent cases as-is, or accompanied with a side salad. These make great plated appetizers for a sit-down, fancy get together with family and friends.
Makes: 12 medium vol-au-vent cases
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 spring onion, chopped
250 gms white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup cooking cream
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels
Pinch dried basil
Pinch dried oregano
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
12 pre-baked medium vol-au-vent cases (you get these at most supermarkets. An alternative is to get the frozen types and follow the packet instructions for baking)
1-2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter together. When slightly frothy, add in the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
Add in the chicken and stir fry until the meat turns from pink to white. Add in the spring onions and the mushrooms, continue to stir.
In the meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cooking cream and milk.
When the mushrooms begins to cook and reduces in size, while the heat is still on medium, gently stir in the cooking cream mixture. For a few minutes continue stirring until the mixture thickens the sauce is reduced, while still ensuring about half cup of sauce remains.
Take off heat and stir in the corn kernels along with the dried herbs. Season with a generous sprinkle of salt and ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Preparing the vol-au-vents:
If using the pre-baked varieties, in a pre-heated oven on 160 degree Celsius, heat the vol-au-vent pastry cases for about 4 to 5minutes.
Spoon some chicken and mushroom cream mixture into the pastry cases.
Garnish with chopped parsley leaves.