Prep 30 mins
Cook 50 mins
Created for RSC #13. The Duchess is very old, very elegant, ex-Russian nobility, and a gourmet. She came to lunch and I made this, as it can stay in a warming oven for a while. This meant I could give my full attention to the old battle-axe and have a glass of wine with her. It's quick to make, this lunch plate, and the Duchess actually thought it was okay! Cooking time assumes you'll fry the chicken while the pastry squares are in the oven. Done separately, that will take about 40 minutes.
- 1 (16 ounce) package crescent roll dough
- 1 egg, beaten
- 8 artichoke hearts (from a can)
- 1⁄2 lb frozen spinach
- 4 ounces Laughing Cow cheese, original, 8 wedges
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or similar hot sauce, to taste)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1⁄2 cup flour (for breasts, you might need more)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄3 cup cream
- 8 slices ham, thin-sliced (pref. Parma ham or Black Forest , or use any processed meat which come in thin strips)
- salt (sea salt is best)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 24 tablespoons oil, as needed (for frying, (or more)
- cucumber, folded into ribbons
- thin strips lemon zest
- chopped cilantro
- grated parmesan cheese or pecorino cheese
- Prepare the bits first. Prepare/cook the spinach according to directions, then leave to drain VERY well in a sieve. Open the cans of artichokes, and let drain upside down.
- Peel the foil off the cheese wedges, and mash the cheese roughly with the Tabasco and a pinch of sea salt.
- Heat oven to 350 deg F or 180 deg Celsius.
- Open up the dough, pinch together, and cut 4 squares, each about 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (about 11cm x 11cm). Grease an oven tin lightly, brush each square with beaten egg, and bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Do watch it, as it could be done in less time depending on the dough and your oven! This can be done even the day ahead, just keep them airtight at room temp.).
- Sprinkle the flour thickly on a working surface and over the chicken breasts, then beat them with a mallet until quite thin, being careful not to let them break up. (Use any utensil like the bottom of a bottle, to flatten the breasts). Keep flattened breasts at hand, covered with a towel.
- I did everything more or less at the same time, and I fried the breasts while the pastry was baking. Use fairly high heat, and heat oil to hot before adding the breasts. Fry until light brown on both sides, and remove to a dish. (Don't overcook). That worked beautifully, as both the pastry and breasts were done within 15 - 20 minutes.
- Slice a thin bit off the artichoke bottoms so they'll stand up. With a knife point, remove the soft inner heart very carefully, so you have a small hollow within the outside leaves. Stand in a flat dish for ease.
- Mix the spinach, cream, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Using a small teaspoon, fill the 8 hollows of the artichokes (you'll have a little filling left over, depending on size of artichokes).
- Wrap a strip of ham round each artichoke. Parma or Black Forest easily sticks and won't fall off.
- Put a pastry square on 4 plates. Spread the cheese mash over the chicken breasts, and put 1 breast on each of the pastry squares. Top each breast with two of the filled, wrapped artichokes.
- At this stage the prepared plates can wait a while and cool down.
- To serve, simply heat in a warm oven (180 deg F or about 90 deg C) for about 40 mins or until warm. They don't need a covering and will not spoil, and the dish need not be piping hot.
- To serve, garnish with your choice from the list given. Good with chilled dry white wine.
Of the 94 recipes submitted for the RSC Lucky #13 contest, this was one of three I made and reviewed. I liked the write-up about the ex-Russian nobility Duchess Blavatskiâ€™s and her â€œold battle-axeâ€� personality. I wonder if she is related to Madame Blavatsky, who believed in theosophic esotericism. She also believed that beer originated in India. If she is indeed related, then a cold glass of strong beer instead of wine is in order for this recipe. Ok, this recipe was fairly easy to make and I can see that you put a lot of effort into creating it for this contest. I tried to not overcook the chicken and crescent rolls, but the dish was a little on the dry side; perhaps from re-heating it up for 40 minutes. (BTW, this recipe tasted better the next day when I re-heated it in the microwave.) Also, the cheese did not melt which would have made this dish a little more moist. I think a cheese/lemon sauce drizzled on the artichokes and chicken would have been nice. Other then that, this dish was an interesting one to make. Thank you for sharing.