I have been busy reading a book on Texas history (Passionate Nation by James L. Haley for those who are interested), it's a great book but I got a big kick out of an anachronism that I noticed among its pages. Ever notice that lots of old plays have titles like: The Dumb Belle, Or, I'm Perfection ok yes marvel at the absurdity of the title but what I think is funny is the presence of the 'or' in the title. What's the deal with that? Did the playwrite really think there were just two amazing titles for their plan, did the theater add it for some color? The context, for those who care, is that this play The Dumb Belle, Or, I'm Perfection along with Hunchback of Notre Dame were the first two plays that premiered in the newly established Republic of Texas (they debuted in Houston).
Oh well, it inspired me to give this recipe (which is very tasty but kind of pesky to make) and 'or' title.
Chicken in Croute or Chicken Wellington
Adapted from Jamie Oliver - Happy Days with the Naked Chef
6 oz mushrooms
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely choped
salt and pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 7oz boneless chicken breasts
1 1lb 2oz package puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
2 heaping tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 lg wineglass of white wine
1/2 plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
1. Preaheat oven to 400F. Chop mushrooms, half rough and half fine.
2. To a hot pan, add a couple of tsp of olive oil and slowly fry the garlic with the musrhooms for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and stir in the chopped parsley. Allow to cool.
3. Pull back the chicken filet on the breast and, keeping it intact, score into the breast and stuff the chicken wiht the cooled musrooms.
4. Using a little dusing of flour and a rolling pin, roll the pastry out to about 18 inches in length, 8 inches wide and just over 1/4 inch thick. Slice into 4 pieces lengthwise, and wrap each piece around each chicken breast. Brushy the pastry with a little egg, and cook in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
5. While this is cooking, put the msutard and white wine into a hot pan and allo to reduce until you've cooked away the alcohol smell. Add the cream and simmer until the sacue coats the back of a spoon, then remove from heat and season to taste.
6. Slice each chicken breast and serve with sauce.
Roasted Beets with Walnuts
5 small red or golden beets (or mixture of them)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt & pepper to taste
1. Peel and cube beets. Toss in an oven safe dish with olive oil, leaves from rosemary and salt and pepper.
2. In the same preheated oven (400F) roast beets until tender (appx 30-45 minutes). In last ten minutes toss in walnuts atop beets.
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