Putting this classic comfort food in miniature skillets raises it to a level fit for company. Make sure the filling is hot and the pastry is cold when it goes in the oven.
- ¾ pound carrots
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups chopped roasted or rotisserie chicken
- 1½ cups sweet peas
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 large egg
- ½ (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed but cold
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut carrots and celery into ½-inch-thick slices. Cut onion into quarters. Arrange on a jelly-roll pan.
Toss with olive oil; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 55 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
Arrange 12 lightly greased 3½-inch castiron skillets on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. (6-ounce oven proof ramekins can also be used.)
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in chicken broth; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.
Cut roasted onion into bite-size pieces and add to Dutch oven. Stir roasted carrots and celery, chicken, peas, thyme and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt into broth mixture. Cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Spoon a scant ½ cup of hot filling into each skillet.
Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Roll puff pastry sheet into a 16- x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut puff pastry into 12 (approximately 4-inch) squares and lay 1 atop each skillet. Brush pastry with egg mixture, and cut slits in tops.
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Garnish, if desired. Makes: 12 appetizer servings
Chef’s Note: For an entrée version, use a 13- x 9-inch casserole dish. Roll puff pastry to a 15- x 12-inch rectangle. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes. Two large cast-iron skillets can also be used. Roll puff pastry slightly larger than skillet diameter.
Recipe adapted from Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2012).