custom cakes/cookies

Monday, December 14, 2009

Comfort en Croute

The December 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

For this challenge, I decided to go the vegetable route partly because of my lack of enthusiasm for cooking salmon (or beef for that matter) and partly because I had recently acquired a host of harvest vegetables through Tantre Farms CSA Thanksgiving share. This is the time of year when one looks to tuck into savory warmth and hearty fare. And thus, I envisioned individual puffed pastry pockets filled with a vegetable stew, kale and a bit of leftover roasted turkey from the Thanksgiving feast. For the stew, I adapted Deborah Madison’s recipe for Winter Vegetable Pot Pie from her cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone to suit the ingredients I had on hand. For the puff pastry, I used a recipe from a previous post, but swapped out a cup of all-purpose flour for whole-wheat pastry flour. Perhaps this makes it a tinge more healthful? Although hopeful, I realize with the amount of butter involved this is doubtful. Once baked, the veggie pockets ended up looking a bit like flying saucers, but no matter, the comfort provided with each bite surely satisfied.

Harvest Vegetable and Turkey Hand Pies
Makes about 2 dozen 3-in diameter pies
After filling the pies, there will be plenty of leftover stew to freeze and enjoy later!

2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 ½ lbs butternut squash (peeled and diced into 1-in cubes)
2 onions, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
½ head of romanesco chopped
2 handfuls of brussel sprouts quartered
3 kale leaves, torn to small shreds
1 cup cooked turkey breast, chopped
2 TBS fresh sage, chopped
mushroom stock (see below)
1 recipe puff pastry
1 egg, beaten and mixed with a bit of warm water to create an egg wash

Quick Mushroom Stock
Makes about 1 ½ cups

¼ cup dried shitake mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion quartered
1 turnip roughly chopped
1 carrot cut into 3 pieces
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
one handful oyster mushrooms, chopped2 tsp tomato paste
1 TBS sage, chopped
½ cup champagne (it’s what was open, red or white wine works too)
1 TBS flour
salt and pepper to taste

Pour 2 cups hot water over dried mushrooms, cover and set aside. Heat oil in saucepan over high heat. Add onion, turnip, carrot, garlic and oyster mushrooms. Sauté stirring occasionally, until well browned (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to medium. Stir in tomato paste, sage, and champagne. Deglaze pan by scraping up any browned bits. Sprinkle flour in pan, cover, and cook until the champagne is reduced to a syrup consistency (about 3 minutes). Add the shitake and their soaking liquid, ½ tsp salt, dash of pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a dutch oven heat oil and butter, add onions and butternut squash and sauté over medium heat until crisp tender (about 15 minutes). Add remaining vegetables to the dish and mix in with the mushroom stock, adding water if more liquid is necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and transfer to oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender.

Meanwhile roll out pastry dough to ⅛-in thick and cut out round shapes using a large cookie cutter or a small bowl. Place circles on parchment-lined baking tray and refrigerate (at least 15 minutes) while assembling fillings. See tips for working with puff pastry from previous post.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Remove pastry circles from refrigerator and carefully stack a dollop of vegetable stew, shredded kale, and turkey on top of half of the circles. Be sure to leave a border around the edges to create a good seal. Brush border with egg wash and place another circle over the top of the filling. Crimp edges with a fork to seal and, if needed, trim excess with a knife. Brush outside of pastry with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.

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