On to the mains! Part of the entree course of Queen Victoria’s meal was Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel or Vol-au-Vents with White Sauce. Vol-au-Vents are French for “windblown”, to describe its lightness of a small hollow case of puff pastry. Vols-au-vent are typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece. This pastry is usually found filled with savory ingredients, but can also have a sweet filling. I came across a recipe that would have been served at the Queen’s table.
Now, when reading this, remember, this is just for the pastry, not the sauce or filling! I think I’m better off buying the premade pastry shells from the grocery store! Please enjoy the recipe below, which would make a lovely appetizer for any meal. If you wish to have this as a main dish, just upsize the portions by adding more chicken, mushrooms, etc.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ cups mushrooms, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 chicken breasts or 4-5 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, diced
1-2 tablespoons chicken soup mix
1 cup non-dairy creamer
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme*
salt and pepper, to taste
6 puff pastry shells
* Click here to learn how to clean fresh thyme.
In a large skillet, over medium- high heat add the olive oil and bring up to temperature. Once hot, add the onions and mushrooms, and allow to them to cook for about 5-7 minutes, so that the onions become translucent and the mushrooms begin to cook. Add the celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken and toss to mix it with the vegetables. If you need to add a little more oil, you can. Let the chicken cook, so that it begins to brown, tossing every so often so that all the pieces get cooked. Once the pieces all look at least a little bit browned, add the non-dairy creamer, chicken soup mix, and thyme. If it is too thick, you can add some water to thin it out.
Reduce the temperature and let the dish cook until the sauce has thickened up a bit and the chicken is fully cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve on in the pastry shells.