Recipe: chicken salad puffs
Good people, you still have until Monday, August 29, 2011 noon MDT to enter the raffle for a fine art print of your choice. Thank you!!
Lately it seems everyone is asking the same question, “Where did summer go?” In the case of my Seattle friends, they’re asking, “Summer who?” The start of the academic year tends to be a major social signal that summer is over. If I step outside my house in the afternoons, I can hear the children at the elementary school screaming and laughing at recess. If I drive through Boulder, it takes me twice as long to get anywhere because of all the new (and disoriented) freshman at the university. While I am already daydreaming about 4 foot powder dumps in winter (okay, I’ve been daydreaming about that since the last time I skied on June 21), I know that will come with a little time and perhaps some patience on my part. Autumn is surely coming, but we’ve still got some weeks of summer left as is evidenced by our near 100°F temps, daily thunderstorm cycle, the height of color at the farmer’s market, and meetings in the park with friends on blankets.
kaweah basking in the sun, unaware of the approaching thunderhead
beets the color of candy at the boulder market
my little buddy getting a snuggle from his mama
I haven’t shot a recipe I’ve made in a couple of months and it feels like forever. It isn’t for lack of mojo as there are several scraps of paper (both carbon-based and silicon-based) strewn about reminding me of recipes I want to try making and blogging. The mojo is there, just not the time. So I’ve dug deep into the queue and found a recipe for the chicken salad puffs I served at the afternoon tea I hosted a while back. It really was a while back – it was in November of last year. I’m hanging my head in shame at my lameness. But I assure you these chicken salad puffs are far from lame!
chicken, grapes, celery, almonds, parsley, onion
prepped and chopped
When the weather cools, I love to make my own chicken broth. I like the broth far more than the chicken and usually end up with a surplus of tender cooked chicken. That chicken meat is handy for throwing together soups, quesadillas, enchiladas, or salads. Chicken salad pitas or sandwiches make for quick and easy lunches. Chicken salad croissants are an occasional indulgence. But the chicken salad puff is probably my favorite way to enjoy chicken salad. It’s just so cute and little.
combine in a bowl with some mayonnaise
Half the fun of throwing an afternoon tea is scouring the interwebs for menu ideas. And I would be lying liar if I didn’t credit Lisa with some of the best ideas because she’s amazing and stylish like that… and a hoot and a half! So I had made chicken salad countless times in the past. Same for cream puffs. But this time I just omitted the pastry cream in favor of chicken salad. I reserve a very special place in my heart (and stomach) for savory pastries.
drop the dough (or pipe it)
scoop some salad into each puff
Usually when I hear the word “pastry” I think “time investment”, but these puffs are practically the simplest and most straightforward pastry you could make. It’s the kind of thing I can do when I’m feeling spent and brain-fogged and still have them come out essentially perfect. The dough bakes into a wonderfully light and hollow shell. Slice the puff open and spoon some chicken salad into it. Equally good for entertaining as it is for a quick bite.
chicken salad puff, yo
Chicken Salad Puffs
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup grapes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, fine dice
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (more or less as needed)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water
4 oz. butter
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from heat and add the flour all at once. Mix the flour in to form a ball a dough, then stir in each egg one at a time until completely incorporated. The resulting dough should be smooth and satiny. Pipe the dough or drop by rounded spoonfuls in 1-inch rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until the puffs are… puffy and golden. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on cooling rack. While the puffs are cooling, combine the chicken, grapes, celery, onion, almonds, parsley and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the puffs are cooled, slice the tops horizontally (you can leave them attached or not – totally a matter of preference). Scoop some salad into each puff and cap with the puff top. Makes 2-3 dozen (depending on how you size the puffs).