I always loved ‘bouchée à la Reine’ – this classic starter is exactly what I love about French cuisine – elegant and old-fashioned. I like to have it simply as a main course with a salad on the side. My simplified version of this small puff pastry includes chicken, morel mushrooms, onions, white wine and a bechamel sauce. If you can’t find morel mushrooms, you can replace with any mushrooms of your choice whether they are fresh or dried
- 4 vol-au-vent shells
- 1 shallot
- 2 large chicken or turkey breasts
- 4 oz. small or medium button mushrooms
- 10g of Morel
- 2 oz. butter
- 2 Tbs. flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup creme fraiche (or double cream)
- 1 bouquet garni
- 12 oz. chicken stock
- Place the chicken stock and the bouquet garni in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to infuse 10-11 minutes
- Cut the chicken breasts into small dice.
- Wash the mushrooms rapidly and cut in halves or quarters depending on the size.
- In a sauteuse (or a frying pan), melt the butter on a medium-high heat and add the chopped shallot. Cook for about 1 minute stirring.
- Add the flour and cook 1 petite minute, mixing with a whisk or a wooden spoon, without browning.
- Add the chicken stock little by little and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add the diced chicken and the mushrooms and cook for 5 – 6 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (gas mark 6) and bake the vol-au-vent shells for 5 – 10 minutes or as directed by the manufacturer, without burning them.
- In a bowl, mix the cream with the egg yolk. Increase the heat under the sauteuse and add the egg yolk/cream mixture, beating to combine well with the sauce and lower the heat as soon as it reaches a boil. The sauce should be unctuous and should coat a spoon. Do not salt, only pepper.
- Remove the vol-au-vents from the oven. Fill rapidly and serve without delay as they cool rapidly.
This entrée has been somewhat neglected but is one of the great classics of French gastronomy. It is usually served as an entrée (introductory course) but may also be served as a plat principal (main course) for an evening meal, for example, accompanied by a green salad. It can also be made with seafood or even snails. For holidays one may also add sweetbreads, truffles or morels. This dish is sometimes confused with Vol-au-vent financière but the latter is quite different with quenelles, cockscombs, cocks’ kidneys, truffle slices, fluted mushroom caps and black olives bound with a Madeira sauce.