The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.
The mandatory part of this challenge was cooking something inside of pastry. Well, no one has to twist my arm to cover ANY food in a golden, butter dotted, flaky pastry shell.
There has been so much rain here in California that my usual trip to the Farmer's Market (where I could buy a great piece of fresh Salmon) was postponed. I decided to add to my challenge by using ingredients that I already had in the house; Ground Turkey, Ground Pork, a few Wild Mushrooms from last Farmer's Market, and some onions were really the foundation.
Then, since I'm always developing party fare for my Artisanal Catering biz; I also turned this recipe into some very popular tiny pies for appetizers. The meat is cooked and once it's covered in pastry I just put those bad boys in the freezer. I brought them to a Holiday Party last night and they were gone before I got back with a pair of tongs for serving them.
The basic directions after cooking the meat filling (Recipe below), and chilling the Short Crust Pastry (recipe below) is:
1) Roll out 1/2 of the pastry to a long rectangle approx. 12x6 inches
2) Roll out the second half of the pastry to a long rectangle approx. 13x7 inches
3) Mound the meat filling on the 12x6 inch pastry, leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the edges
4) Cover the filling with the larger rectangle pastry and trim with shears or a knife to just inside the edges.
5) Roll the edges over and crimp with a fork.
6 Use the scraps to cut our decorations to your liking
7) Prick the pastry shell all over with a fork, and brush with a mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbls. water.
8) Bake in the oven at 350F for 40 minutes (turning pan once for even browning)
9) Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting slices.
Turkey/Pork/Wild Mushroom en Croute
(Short Crust pastry; see below)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground turkey
8 oz. mixed Wild Mushrooms (wood ears work well, baby bells, etc.)
1 small onion chopped
2 clove garlic minced
2 Tbls. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded Emmental Cheese/ Gruyere/ or other mild cheese
2 Tbls. olive oil
In a large skillet, cook the onions and garlic on low until they are tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Remove these from the skillet and hold. In the same pan, cook the pork on Med/High until browned and crumbled. Add the turkey and continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes. Drain the meats and add them to the onion/garlic/mushroom mixture in the skillet, again. Also add the Soy Sauce, Red Pepper flakes, the egg and cheese. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. Let cool before using in the pastry.
450 gr (15.8 ounces or 3.2 cups ) of plain all purpose flour
200 gr ( 7 ounce) cold butter
(ADDITION - 1 Tbls. Fresh Thyme leaves)
pinch of salt
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the salt, (and thyme) then add 2-3 tbsp of water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling or for about 1 hour.
For best results make sure the butter is very cold.
ALSO for your enjoyment; I'm including the generous recipe for the Salmon that we could use on Daring Cooks this month. If you enjoy cooking and experimenting with culinaria; think about joining the Daring Kitchens. It keeps your skills growing and you meet a lot of fabulous folks online who like having fun and challenging themselves in the kitchen.
Salmon en croute:
Mascarpone or creamcheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butterversion such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized
1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test wether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.
Also check out the website of BBC Good Food as it has tons of information and other video tutorials as well