by Jacquie Underdown
This is an incredibly decadent recipe of rich, creamy, cheesy goodness, so it is best to eat on special occasions only. My mother-in-law hauled this recipe through from the days of fat and flavour as a reminder of how good food can be, and makes it every Christmas.
Chicken vol-au-vents can be made in advance and re-heated on Christmas day, so you’re not spending all day in the kitchen. For someone like me, who also has their birthday on Christmas Day, this recipe is perfect.
- 2 large chicken breasts, whole
- 20 palm-sized vol-au-vent cases
- 1L water
- 2 chicken stock cubes
- 3 stalks of spring onions, chopped
- 2 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp. cornflour
- 500 g of grated tasty cheddar cheese
- 500 mL of thickened cream (do not use low fat, it will split. Trust me, I’ve tried repetitively.)
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. seeded mustard
Add chicken in a medium sized pot and fill with water until the chicken breasts are covered. Throw in chicken stock cubes, place pot onto heat on a stovetop and simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Take the chicken out of the pot and place on a chopping board. Tip out half the cooking liquid into a mug and reserve for later.
Place the remainder of liquid still in the pot back on to a low heat. Add spring onions and mushrooms to the liquid, followed by the mustards. Stir until combined.
Combine half a cup of cream with the cornflour and stir. Add this mixture and the remainder of the cream into the pot and stir until thickened.
Add the cheese and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, chop the chicken into 2 – 3 centimetre sized cubes and add to the creamy, cheesy mixture. Stir to combine.
Check the mixture for taste and consistency here. If the mixture needs more mustard, add it. If it needs more liquid, add some of the reserved stock liquid. If it needs more cornflour, add some more. If it needs seasoning, add pepper and salt.
Lay vol-au-vent cases on to baking trays. Spoon in chicken mixture until filled to the top. Place into the oven for 20 minutes at 160 C (or if reheating from cold, until heated all the way through).
A story about starting fresh, letting go, and risking it all for love…