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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Puff Pastries

 I’m pretty new to coming up with completely original kitchen ideas. That is, something that I didn’t see somewhere else and alter to my tastes. That’s why I was totally shocked when I was struck with random inspiration for some party food. I got the idea early in the morning last week, and by the time I was making it that night it was totally different. I was craving beef with broccoli, like the kind you get from Chinese take-out. I thought it would be neat to make it portable, like in an empanada. Through a series of improvements, it morphed into chicken with broccoli (and a little rice mixed in) wrapped in puff pastry. It’s not really an empanada, so I’m not sure what to call these. I was in a rush to take these pictures, so I left them on the parchment paper they were baked on (with browned bits of dripped eggwash and all.)

1 lb ground chicken
1 cup of cooked white rice (measure one cup AFTER cooking)
approx 9 oz broccoli (I bought a 12 oz bag of fresh broccoli and used around 3/4 of it)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
a pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp sesame oil
olive oil for cooking
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (i used lee kum kee brand)
3 tbsp oyster sauce
salt and pepper
1 box of puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)
1 egg, beaten with about a teaspoon of water (to make an egg wash)

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400º.
Heat some olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or frying pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up with a spatula. Chicken should be opaque throughout. Add the crushed red pepper and stir.
In the meantime, cook broccoli. I cheated and steamed the broccoli in the microwave, but you can use whatever cooking method you prefer. Once the broccoli is cooked and cool enough to handle, chop it into very fine pieces. This step is important, because the idea of biting into a big lone broccoli chunk in the final product seems like it could be a little... surprising (although probably not the end of the world.)
Turn the heat to low, and add the broccoli. Drizzle the chicken and broccoli with a little sesame oil. Sesame oil is super potent, so you really only want to add a tiny bit at a time. Add the cooked rice, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce and stir until coated. You don't want too much sauce, or the pastries could get soggy. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Let this mixture cool to about room temperature.
Roll out your puff pastry sheets with a rolling pin on a floured surface to about 1/4 in thickness. Make 2 cuts across the pastry to divide it into 3 strips. Cut the strips into squares.
Spoon a bit of the chicken mixture onto a pastry square. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Fold the pastry diagonally over the chicken to make a triangle and seal. Use a fork to crimp down the edges. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash. Repeat this with the remaining puff pastry. I ended up with some leftover filling (but I didn't mind eating it as a side dish the next day.)
Bake the pastries in a 400º oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tin foil until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Yield: About 20-25 pastries, depending on size.

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