Saturday, November 13, 2010

Poulet Champignon Creme Veloute en Vol Au Vent

     French comfort food!

     This is a very tasty lunch or light dinner recipe.  The rich flavor of the wild cep, chanterelle and porcini goes so well with pastry and chicken.  Veloute is a French mother sauce that is fairly easy to make.  For most recipes, the veloute must have a thin consistency.  During the cold winter months, it is acceptable to make a veloute a little bit thicker.  I made this recipe in Chicago on a very cold day, so a heartier rich veloute was called for.  Yes, French cooking rules can be bent to suit the need!
     The visual appeal of a vol au vent puff pastry captures the attention of customers in a restaurant.  When I apprenticed in French kitchens early in my career, every French restaurant had vol au vent entrees on their lunch menus.  Yacht clubs, country clubs and many fine dining restaurants offered vol au vent presentations back then.
     Vol au vent was a very popular item.  In recent years, a vol au vent is rarely seen on a menu, even at French restaurants.  Ever since the fusion cuisine trend started, classic items like vol au vent have been cast aside.  Times have changed during this sour economy and comfort food is back in demand, but very few chefs have met the demand for French comfort cuisine.  Live by the gun, die by the gun!  Fusion cuisine does not attract as many customers as it used to, because most fusion cuisine is very overpriced and the food provides very little comfort.  Chefs watch business trickle, yet they still ramrod fusion cuisine to extremes with no end.  Sometimes, change is better than continuing a trend to extremes.  Ce est la vie!

     Vol Au Vent Pastry Recipe:
     I'll write a puff pastry or blitz puff pastry recipe at a later date.  Till then, a quality frozen pre-made puff pastry product will do.  Pre-shaped frozen vol au vents are nice, but most times they are rather small.  Shaping your own custom size vol au vent is not hard to do. 
     As a matter of fact, most chefs and pastry chefs use pre-made frozen puff pastry dough.  To produce large batches of puff pastry, a pastry lamination machine and pastry rolling machine is needed.  A puff pastry recipe is a large blog page of its own.  To make a good puff pastry, the temperature of the pastry room must be about 60 degrees.  Making puff pastry in a warm kitchen is a good way to end up with a big batch of pie dough instead of puff pastry!  The temperature has to be chilly to keep the whole butter intact.   
     Place a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured counter top.
     Cut a 41/2" circle shape with a ring mold and place it on a buttered piece of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Cut 1 more 4 1/2" circle shape.
     Selct a 3 1/2" ring mold.
     Use the smaller ring mold to cut the center of the round circle shape pastry, so a 1/2" wide border band is created.
     Brush the round voul au vent piece of pastry dough on the baking pan with egg wash.
     Place the 1/2" border ring shape of pastry on the bottom piece, so the outside edges are flush.
     Brush the pastry ring with egg wash
     Bake the voul au vent in a 375 degree oven, till the pastry rises and becomes a golden brown color.
     Keep the vol au vent warm on a stove top.
     Poulet Champignon Veloute:
     Fresh or dried mushrooms can be used in this recipe.  For dried chanterelle, cep and porcini mushrooms, soak 2 or 3 slices of each in 1 cup of water overnight in a refrigerator.  Save the mushroom soaking liquid!
     Pour the mushroom soaking liquid through a strainer into a container.  Set the mushroom liquid and mushrooms aside.
     Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 4 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Constantly stir till the roux emits a hazelnut aroma and it turns a blonde color.
     Add 1 1/3 cups of chicken stock.
     Add the 1 cup of reserved mushroom soaking liquid.
     Coarsely chop the chanterelle, cep and porcini mushrooms and add them to the sauce.
     Stir the sauce as it heats, till it thickens to a very thin sauce consistency.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer the sauce.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 to 5 ounces of chicken breast filet that is cut into bite size pieces.
     Saute till golden brown highlights appear.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced leek.
     Add 1/2 of a minced garlic clove.
     Briefly saute, till the garlic becomes aromatic.
     Add 2 ounces of dry white wine and deglace the pan.
     Add the chicken mixture to the sauce in the pot.
     Simmer and reduce the veloute sauce with the chicken and mushrooms, till the sauce becomes a thin sauce consistency.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of cream to enrich the sauce.  The sauce should not be pale in color!
     Simmer and reduce the chicken and mushroom creme veloute, till it becomes a rich medium thin sauce consistency.

     Poulet Champignon Creme Veloute en Vol Au Vent:
     Place the voul au vent on a plate.
     Note:  It may be necessary to press the center of the cup down because the bottom of the pastry will rise when baking too.  Take care not to damage the edges.
     Spoon the chicken mushroom veloute into the voul au vent, till it overflows.
     Serve with a medley of sauteed vegetables seasoned with chopped herbs or a vegetable of your choice.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig.
     This is a very easy recipe if you use frozen puff pastry dough or pre made frozen vol au vent.  This is a good rich tasting hearty meal for a chilly day!  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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