2016 – the year in which seaweed and activated seeds and nuts have been touted as top food trends, black pudding has only gone and been mentioned as a superfood in its own right, to the surprise of many. Well, we nearly had kittens – here’s us thinking we must have been ‘wellness’ bloggers all along as we always ensure we’ve an endless supply of the stuff.
So, what better thing can we do than forget the virtues of it all, wrap it in pastry and throw some chicken in the mix too! For us, flavour is everything.Chicken and black pudding are a bit of a dream when put together. It isn’t the first thing that may come to mind when thinking of other uses for this fried breakfast staple, but believe us, this one works so well.
The recipe actually is inspired by our old university’s canteen in Dublin City University. Yes, that might sound bleak, but hear us out. Generally speaking, the food there was just fine – a combination of everything and chips; school dinner-style desserts in bowls; a make-your-own sandwich deli bar. But there were two saving graces: a fresh, to-order omelette bar and a once-a-week special called ‘Clonakilty Chicken’ – chicken breast, with a smattering of Clonakilty Black Pudding, all encased in flaky, buttery puff pastry.
It wasn’t the most popular choice among hungover students and those wanting a quick speedy lunch, but it was a must for us. Here we’ve recreated it as a quick dinner for two that is flavoursome, simple and extremely satisfying.
Chicken & Black Pudding en Croute
- 2 free-range or organic skinless chicken breasts.
- 100g black pudding, casing removed and crumbled. (We love Clonakilty, McCarthys of Kanturk and Inch House from Ireland or Bury in the UK. Failing that a good quality one from the butchers will do fine)
- A knob of butter
- 1 sheet pre-rolled, pre-made puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 200C. Using a pre-heated baking sheet is vitally important to ensure you don’t get a soggy bottom after all your hard work.
2. Melt some butter or oil in a frying pan. Season chicken breasts and seal them for minute or two on either side, so the outside is slightly browned.
3. Bringing the pastry to room temperature by leaving it out of the fridge for about ten minutes. Then unfurl it with the long side facing you and cut straight down the middle to make two pieces. Place a chicken breast one half of one sheet, and the second on one half of the other. Give it a bit of a season using salt and black pepper. Tuck it in if you notice it is too close to the edge; ideally you want about 1cm of space in order to seal the pastry up when you fold over the other side.
4. Get the crumbled black pudding in a bowl and a soft knob of butter to it and using your hands, mould it together, to about the same width of the chicken breast. We’ve found that on occasions the black pudding can go a bit dry, while the butter helps maintain a bit of moisture. Pop this either on on top of the chicken or under it. We prefer underneath, as it guarantees every slice of chicken is paired with a slice of black pudding.
5. Using a pastry brush, put a small amount of egg wash along the edges of the pastry. Then fold the pastry over the chicken and black pudding, gently pressing down to seal, creating a little parcel. Be careful, as the pastry could tear. If this happens, a bit of patch work can be forgiven. Press the pastry down tight, and cut off any excess; remember you’re wanting about 1cm around the whole breast. Using a wet fork, crimp the edges to seal the layers together.
6. With a sharp knife, cut three shallow lines down the top of the pastry enough so you can just about see into the black pudding. Then using the pastry brush, spread the egg wash across the parcels. This gives them an amazing colour when cooked. We like to add a bit of flaked sea salt and pepper just to add a touch of extra flavour, but this is optional.
7. Using a spatula, carefully lift the en croutes onto the pre-heated baking sheet and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. C’est ca!
What’s your favourite way to use black pudding outside of a fry-up? Let us know in the comments or send us a tweet!