2016 –– the year in which seaweed and activated seeds and nuts were touted as top food trends, black pudding had been declared a superfood in its own right, to the surprise of many, but certainly not to us! 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 it! Black pudding has always been at the top of our shopping list, and Clonakilty Black Pudding is consistently up there with the best black puddings in the world, so here’s a recipe showing how delicious and versatile black pudding can be.
For us, flavour is everything. Flavour is the basis for our all our recipes, and we create and adapt to pack as much delicious flavour into every dish as we can. Here’s a secret: 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, and is so satisfying with the succulent chicken, rich flavour of black pudding wrapped in the crisp, buttery blanket of puff pastry.
We have to admit, the inspiration for this actually came from our old university’s canteen! 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 dream find for us. We like to think we’ve improved the look and flavour of that iteration with our own version below!
We’ve re-imagined this dish as a quick dinner recipe for two that is full of flavour, simple, comforting, delicious and so satisfying. In this, the black pudding truly is the star, and the ingredient that brings all others together. We’re delighted that Clonakilty Food Co. has also included this recipe in their Black and White Cookbook, which launched in 2019, and is available to order from their site.
Chicken & Clonakilty Black Pudding en Croûte
- 2 free-range or organic skinless chicken breasts.
- 100g Clonakilty Black Pudding (you could also use their White Pudding, or the new Veggie Pudding if you wish)
- 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 200ºC. 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. Bring 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 on 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’s 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 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 some 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. Using the pastry brush, spread the egg wash across the parcels, this gives an amazing colour when cooked. With a sharp knife, cut three or four shallow lines down the top of the pastry and 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 bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Sin é! That’s it!