Tonight I was supposed to make Chicken a la King with brown rice. This morning I took the chicken out but as I was out I realized that it is 15% off day at our local nice grocery store and I wanted to pick a few things up. One of them being these delicious puff pastry shells. You can make them yourself but when all the work is done for you and all you have to do it bake them, isn't it worth it? What is not worth it is the crazy price they usually charge so I stock up when they are on sale. Today they were on sale and then 15% off on top of it - love a good deal!
Anyway, so I decided to make one of our FAVORITE meals, Tarragon Chicken Vol au Vents. Vol au Vent means "blowing in the wind" in French, I guess from their light and airy texture. Last year I was asked to cater a dinner for 60 women at our church for Christmas so I came up with this recipe. I have tweaked it over time and it is something I love to make and play with and use whatever we have on hand. The sauce can also be served over rice, as is the case for my two youngest but take it from me, it is SO much better in the puff pastry!
Tarragon Chicken Vol au Vents
recipe by Domestic Diva
2 pkgs frozen vol au vents puff pastry cups (contains 6 cups each) or 12 homemade vol au vents
4 chicken breasts, or any chicken pieces you want, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 c sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped or 1-2 shallots, minced
handful of frozen peas - eyeball it people, this is not a science
½ c + ¼ c butter
½ c flour
4 c chicken broth
1 c heavy cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
3-4 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp tarragon (dried) or 1-2 tbsp fresh tarragon
½ tsp dried thyme or 1-2 tsp fresh
salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken breasts and dice into bite size pieces. You can bake in the oven at 375F for 30-40 minutes until no longer pink on foil lined baking tray and allow to cool enough to cut or cook in the deep skillet you will do the rest in.
In large skillet, (I mean the biggest deepest one you have) melt ¼ c butter and cook onion until translucent and soft. Add celery and mushrooms, cooking 2 minutes and add red pepper. Add remaining butter until melted and stir in flour until smooth and thick, cooking 1-2 minutes until lightly golden. Slowly stir in chicken broth until incorporated and smooth and thickened. You may need to bring mixture back to a boil. Cook until thickened and add cream, vinegar and mustard. Stir in chicken and seasonings. Continue to simmer until thickened and flavors have come together, at least 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it gets too thick, add more chicken broth or cream. You need to taste this or else you will have no idea how much of everything to add. Just go with what you like!
Bake puff pastry according to directions (the ones I buy take 20 minutes). Cool for a minute or two and remove the center section to make a hollow for the yummy goodness to go into. Spoon Tarragon Chicken in and over puff pastry and serve with vegetables and a salad.
This serves about 6-8 and I usually do half of this and it used to be exactly enough for my small eating family but from the way they gobbled it up today I will need to make a larger portion next time!