"Beef Wellington is a classic, that’s a given, especially as an alternative to your typical Christmas turkey. However, sometimes it's nice to try something completely different, especially if you’ve been serving up the same dish every year, or have more than one celebratory meal to prepare over the festive period."
I’m always looking for new ways to reinvent classic dishes and sometimes to make them a little less costly. Chicken is generally cheaper than beef, especially considering that fillet is used for a real Wellington, and makes a great base for many meals.
What I tend to find though is that whilst beef can stand on its own and be pretty good, chicken needs a little help in the flavour department. So, the mix of mushrooms, spinach and garlic give it an earthy flavour and the filo pastry packaging is a little lighter than puff pastry.
If all this sounds interesting, then read on and maybe even try my reinvented classic, a Chicken Wellington for your Christmas dinner.
4 chicken breasts
250g baby leaf spinach
350g chestnut mushrooms
½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove
12 sheets filo pastry (ready made)
2tbsp olive oil for frying
1tbsp olive oil for the pastry
Salt and pepper to taste
Set Oven Temp: 180C/Gas Mark 4
Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan) and boil a kettle full of water. Put the spinach in a colander and pour hot water from the kettle over it to wilt.
Squeeze out the spinach and mix with the garlic butter and set aside.
Finely chop the shallots, mushrooms and parsley. Pour the olive oil in the pan and on a medium heat fry the mushroom/shallot mix until soft and lightly browned, season to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Fry the chicken breasts in the same pan until crispy and golden on the outside but not actually cooked through. Take the chicken breasts out, and cut into the middle to make a pocket and then stuff the chicken with a quarter of the spinach/butter mix.
Now lay the chicken breast onto a sheet of pastry and top with ¼ of the mushroom mix (four chicken breasts, ¼ for each).
Fold over the pastry and seal it with some brushed on olive oil. Turn the parcel upside down onto the next sheet of pastry, fold over and seal.
Turn the parcel around again (now it’s the correct way up) and place onto the third pastry sheet. Fold over and brush with oil.
Put the chicken parcels into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Serve immediately and enjoy!