These tasty little appetizers are perfect for anything from a treat at home to elegant party nibbles. It will always be Jenny W.'s recipe to me, a lovely woman I worked with when I first came to New Zealand. She used to make them for morning tea, something I had never experienced before - a tea break where you actually talk to your workmates and share food. Brilliant idea! She shared this recipe with me and I've passed it on several times. It's always a hit. So Jenny W., if you see this and recognise your recipe, get in touch with me.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Lay out the sheets of puff pastry. They will defrost while you prepare the chicken.
- Cut the chicken breast into long strips. You will need half a large chicken breast or half a medium chicken breast plus the tenderloin from the other half.
- Sprinkle the stock powder over the chicken. I use an organic vegetable stock but use whatever you have. I have tried soy sauce but it makes the chicken too wet. Dry ingredients are better and light flavours don't overpower the asparagus. Add a grind or two of black pepper and a good pinch of salt. Make sure all the chicken is coated with some seasoning.
- Drain the asparagus well. Tinned/canned asparagus works really well in this recipe.
- The pastry should be defrosted enough to be able to cut the sheets in half. Cut each sheet in half to give you 10 strips.
- Put asparagus spears down the middle of each strip. Then lay a strip of chicken beside the asparagus.
- Beat an egg lightly and then brush some eggwash along the cut in the middle of the sheet of pastry.
- With a sheet in front of you with the cut going left to right (not up and down), take the edge near you and fold it over the chicken and asparagus. Use the folded edge to shove the filling nearer to you until it is tucked around the filling quite tightly.
- Now roll up the pastry to the eggwash and make sure the cut edge stays on the bottom of the roll.
- Brush the top with egg and sprinkle plenty of sesame seeds on top.
- Cut into 6 pieces.
- Repeat for the other 9 strips to give you 60 little bites.
- Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pastry is cooked through. The chicken will cook in this time and will still be moist and tasty.
- Take the rolls off the baking tray and cool slightly on a wire rack. Then serve warm or leave on the rack and serve cold. They are equally good warm or cold. They can be reheated but, like all pastry dishes, are better freshly baked.
- The rolls in the photograph I have posted were made with a low-fat puff pastry. As expected, they haven't puffed up as much as usual pastry but still tasted good. Let's face it, pastry is never going to be a low-fat food so you may as well enjoy it but just not eat it all the time. I'll be going back to the usual next time. 14/12/07 - Edited to add an updated photo of rolls made with regular puff pastry. Also, I increased the amount of chicken.
- Note: put the sesame seeds in a dish and discard any that you don't use. They could be contaminated by the chicken so you don't want to put them back in the bag.