What is a BakeSpace Challenge you ask?
Think of it as a sort of Iron Chef Challenge, but different. Twice a month on the 1st and on the 16th a new challenge is announced. Create a recipe. What kind of recipe? Well that depends on the challenge... It can be anything from a list of ingredients to a food mentioned in a song (Savoy Truffle anyone?)
This is a new program we, the members of BakeSpace, have instituted in order to stimulate creativity within the community, but most of all, it's suppose to be fun...
1. We do not have a panel of judges, unless you have a family of 4 to cook for.
2. There is no point system, unless you want to count the "----> drools" posted to the forum after you have revealed your masterpiece.
3. The only time limit is the 2 weeks you have to complete your recipe, photograph it and post about it.
If you are interested in some fun with cooking, swing by BakeSpace and check us out in the Pantry Forums under BakeSpace TEST KITCHEN, were a fun group of people, I promise we wont bite.... Well, unless your hand is covered in chocolate or something..... That all being said, on with the blog......
BakeSpace Challenge #1:
Mission: Utilize these five ingredients in either 1 or 2 dishes - Onion, Chicken, Eggs, Spinach & Puff Pastry
My solution to this challenge came fairly easily due to my habit of watching Hell's kitchen. I have been watching Beef Wellington leave the kitchen all season long, and with the mention of mushrooms, puff pastry and chicken... I knew exactly what I needed to do... Due to the stuffing of spinach and onions into the chicken breast, I have refrained from calling this a Chicken Wellington... Instead I believe that Duxelles Pate Chicken en Croute fits quite well. Even if it has a few more syllables.
On the whole, I will definitely be making this again... although I will save such a dish for dinner guests and not just simply make it for myself. The nice thing is that the pate and the stuffing can be made in advance and refrigerated. This makes preparation the day of, much faster than one would think.
Saute onions - Now you have to saute onions for both mixtures, so I did them both at the same time.
The Onions/Mushrooms in a skillet and the onions for the spinach stuffing:
Once the onions for the filling are done, add them to the spinach and complete the stuffing mix...
More than likely the mushrooms will still be cooking, once the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, deglaze the pan with lemon juice and marsala, then add the cream, herbs and lemon zest. Toss this into the food processor with toasted almonds and puree to a pate.
In the mean time, start butterflying the chicken breasts... The wicked looking knife I am using is a great Japanese hybrid boning/fillet knife by Shun called a Gukoju, not so great for filleting fish, but fantastic for everything else.
Divide the stuffing between the 4 Chicken breasts, then either close them up with twine or use turkey trussing needles (Which I had to use, I didn't realize I was out of twine.)
By now the Pate should be done. Go ahead and remove the 1 sheet of puff pastry from the refrigerator and allow the pastry to warm a little before unfolding.
Heat a skillet and rub the chicken with olive oil, sear on all sides then remove to a plate to rest while preparing the pastry.
Roll out the pastry into a rectangle and divide into 4 equal squares, the remaining strip can be cut into decorations for the top.
Spread pate over the pastry leaving a border for sealing.
Fold pastry over and seal with egg white wash. Add decorations, using egg white wash as the glue, then give the whole thing another coat or egg wash. I sprinkled a little Murray River Salt from Australia over the leaves as a little extra decoration.
Bake at 400 for 18 minutes or until Pastry is puffed and GB & D (To Coin a Phrase)
Slice on the bias and serve with micro greens.
Conclusion - I thought it was delicious, although I may try this with arugala instead of spinach as the flavor is milder, or maybe use shallots or leeks instead of sweet onions. But on the whole I was really happy with it. The pate was divine on toasts.
But the absolute BEST part was that I still had a sheet of puff pastry left over... So.......
I made St. Germain Cream Horns for dessert with a St. Germain mascarpone filling and raspberries (both Golden and Red) with a little coulis from the left over berries.
St. Germain is a newer liqueur to the U.S. it is made from French ElderFlowers... It's a little on the cost prohibitive side (41 bucks a bottle) but luckily I found the little airplane size bottle for 3 dollars.
Great for adding that "little extra mysterious something that people can't quite put their finger on" to a dessert.