Champagne chicken vol-au-vents


  • Serves 48 people

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (375gm each), chilled for 2 hrs and rolled to 4mm thick
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced tarragon leaves
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
  • To serve: celery cress
  • Champagne chicken
  • 250 ml Champagne or sparkling white wine
  • ½ small leek (40gm), white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 1 small chicken breast (about 250gm), tenderloin removed for another use
01   Preheat oven to 200C. Cut forty-eight 4cm-diameter rounds from puff pastry, then using a 3cm-diameter pastry cutter, press two-thirds of the way through each round, leaving a 1cm border. Place rounds on baking paper-lined oven trays. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then brush rounds with eggwash and bake until lightly golden and puffed (7-10 minutes). Remove from oven and detach and discard centre piece of pastry with a small sharp knife, leaving base intact. Bake bases until golden and pastry is cooked through (3-5 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
02   Meanwhile for Champagne chicken, combine Champagne, leek, lemon rind, tarragon and 125ml water in a saucepan small enough to fit chicken snugly. Bring to the boil over medium heat, add chicken, return to the boil, cover, remove from heat and cool completely. Remove chicken, finely shred with fingers and refrigerate until needed. Strain liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat and cook until reduced to 50ml (15-20 minutes). Cool completely.
03   Combine chicken, reduced cooking liquor, cream, tarragon and lemon rind in a bowl. Season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, then divide among pastry cases. Place in oven and bake until warmed through (1-2 minutes). Scatter with cress and serve immediately.







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