Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken Wellington

Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken WellingtonOn The Chopping Block
Over the weekend, my family held another Chopped competition. We did this once before and it was so much fun that the kids have been asking to do it again. And, since we didn’t have anything else to do, we switched up the teams for another round.

Since there are only four contestants to make up the teams choosing isn’t hard—except that my daughter is the ringer. Any team with her on it is going to have an advantage because she cooks on a regular basis and spends much of her time watching shows on the Food Network. Last time she was paired with her brother and they ended up making a pork bun and stir-fry dinner that took first place. That happened because my son, smartly, just went with what she said and did her bidding.

This time she was paired with her other brother. But, I was adamant that he had to actively contribute to the recipe discussion. No riding her coattails. I was pleasantly surprised at what he brought to the discussion given his penchant for eating whatever is the easiest to prepare. This is why we call him the Cereal Killer.

For this round the ingredients consisted of the following:

One whole chicken
Canterelle mushrooms
Purple sweet potatoes (a.k.a. Ube)
Blood oranges
Frozen puff pastry

Now, as someone who has been cooking for over 30 years, there are a number of recipes I could think of to make with this mix of ingredients. However, the dish that ultimately won the competition was one I never would have thought of—or, at least never would have thought my family would think of. I knew the puff pastry was going to present a challenge. I figured I would get at least one puff pastry empanada, and I was right. What I didn’t think I would get was a Wellington.

Wellington is traditionally made by wrapping puff pastry around a fillet of beef with a little fois gras and baking it. I’m simplifying things, but that’s the basic idea. It is not something I make often. In fact I don’t think I have ever made it. And, I am not entirely sure that my kids have even tasted it. So it came as a big surprise when my daughter made a chicken and mushroom Wellington for her Chopped dish. I can only assume she saw it on one of her favorite shows. Either way I was beyond impressed.

The final dishes were a Blood Orange Braised Chicken with Purple Sweet Potato Purée and Asparagus Mushroom Empanada and a Chicken and Mushroom Wellington with a Blood Orange Purple Sweet Potato Puree and Baby spinach salad with Blood Oranges and Balsamic dressing.

Both dishes were outstanding. We all agreed on that. Everyone upped their game and it was a good night of eating. Ultimately, the Wellington dish was the winner—but it was by a razor thin margin. It was the level of difficulty of making a Wellington that did it.

So, my daughter is now two for two in Chopped challenges. My husband was so closeto getting his first win. But alas, it was not meant to be. Next time, they will be paired together which should be entertaining as all get out.

Since no one used actual recipes, I adapted one from the Food Network if you would like to try making a Wellington.

Chanterelle Mushroom and Chicken Wellington
Adapted from the Food Network
Yields 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
8 ounces boneless chicken breast
1 pound Chanterelle mushrooms cleaned and trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (from 2 large sprigs)
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large egg, beaten
Large-flake sea salt, such as Maldon

Prep the mushrooms and chicken
Slice the cleaned and trimmed chanterelles (including stems) lengthwise in 1/4-inch wide slices. Chop the chicken breast into 1/2-inch cubes.

Make the filling
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the cubed chicken and sauté until slightly browned (about 5 to 7 minutes).

Add the chanterelle slices, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have started to soften and wilt (about 4 minutes).

Add the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, spinach, chicken slices, and pour in the wine. Bring it to a simmer and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Prepare the dough
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 400º F. Roll the puff pastry out on a floured sheet of parchment paper to a 13-inch square. Brush the surface of the pastry with the mustard, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs.

Form the log
Leaving a 1-inch border on the right and left sides of the pastry, pile the mushroom and chicken filling onto the center, and pack it into a log about 3-inches wide. Fold the bottom half of the pastry over the filling, then roll it up so the bundle sits seam-side down. If any filling falls out while rolling, just push it back inside. Pinch together the open ends to seal, and crimp with a fork. The log should be about 12 inches long. Transfer the Wellington, on the parchment, to a baking sheet. Brush generously all over with the egg. Cut decorative slits down the length of the Wellington. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Bake the Wellington
Bake the Wellington until golden brown and bubbly (about 40 to 45 minutes). Allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve over puréed purple sweet potatoes with a side salad of spinach and blood oranges.


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