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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apricot Chicken en Croûte

I wanted to make something different for Dinner tonight and I came across this recipe on the Campbell's kitchen it is an elegantly presented dish that is surprisingly easy to make. It features tender chicken, colorful vegetables and seasoned cream cheese baked in a golden, flaky puff pastry crust. Please see my notes at the end for my take on this recipe.

Apricot Chicken en Croûte

Egg wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

1 package (17.3 ounces) Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 egg yolk
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small green pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup Chicken Broth

Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork and set aside.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut into 4 (7-inch) squares. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.

Stir the cream cheese, 1/4 cup preserves, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon ginger root and egg yolk in a medium bowl.

Spread about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture on the bottom third of each pastry square. Top each with about 4 red and 4 green pepper strips, and 1 chicken breast. Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Fold 2 opposite sides of the pastry over the filling. Starting at the short side with the chicken, roll up like a jelly roll. Press the seams to seal. Place the pastries, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Heat the broth, remaining preserves, soy sauce and ginger root in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally. Serve the sauce with the chicken.

In a Dutch Oven:
Imagine sitting amongst the trees, listening to the stream as it rushes by, birds singing in the trees, with just you and your sweetheart….. as you sit down to this awesome meal just the 2 of you. You can picture the table with a fine linen tablecloth, candlesticks, and beautiful stemware…..  Ok so that’s not gonna happen. For most of us, there will be dogs barking, kids screaming, guys in the next campground over yelling, and you are just rushed to get a meal on the table…. but a girl can dream can’t she?

This would be a great meal to surprise your family with, it is not difficult to make and it looks pretty too.

Prepare as stated, placing  3 – 4 chicken packages in a 12” Dutch Oven place 19 coals on the top and 10 underneath and bake till a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165° and the pastry is golden brown.

For the sauce, prepare in a 5” Dutch Oven place over 8-10 coals

Adapted from Campbell's Kitchen, Apricot Chicken

So after making this and tasting it - here are a few of my own addition - the Cream Cheese mixture makes a great sauce also. My family wasn't sold on the broth mixture, they said it was too soy saucy... we tried both, the cream cheese mixture was our favorite.

When it came to the size of the Chicken the chicken breasts I bought were about the size of my hand, I cut them in half and still had to trim them to fit, Chicken tenders would be perfect.

These could be made smaller - bite size if you wanted to take the time. Either way this was pretty taste and I will probably make this again and maybe add some mushrooms or sprouts, this had an oriental flavor from the soy sauce and ginger, but not over powering (unless you use the sauce (my opinion)).

To make this healthier, use low sodium soy sauce, fat free or low fat cream cheese, and low fat sodium free chicken stock.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this recipe.

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did.
Have fun cookin'

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