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July 22, 2009
A Pastry Made from
Meat? What Is That? Stop. Don’t Think.
There is a linear series of questions associated with pastries. The
first is this: What is better than plain pastry? The answer to that is a
pastry stuffed with something. The second is this: What is better than a
pastry stuffed with something? The answer is a pastry constructed of
course, the issue now veers off on tangents – can one call a pastry
constructed out of meat a pastry, or is there a more proper term to use?
The answer to this is that it is better to simply let things be than to
overanalyze them. Such is just as true of things like highway safety
statistics as it is about pastries.
The functional question is how one might arrive at this thing, a pastry
that is not a pastry because meat is involved? The answer is that you
start with the meat, and don’t spend a lot of time thinking things
You’re starting with a chicken thigh that has been de-skinned and
deboned. That means you’re really starting things out with a
meat-tenderizing mallet. Things that start with the swing of the hammer
rarely run the risk being given too much thought.
Beat the chicken thigh to a thickness of about half an inch. This will
create a flattened surface bigger than you might expect from something
otherwise relatively small and compact like a chicken thigh. This
process is not unlike rolling out a pie crust, except that it involves
something closely resembling a hammer.
The question is what to put inside. In a normal pastry, one that is
constructed of some kind of bread-like material, the answer is most
commonly something associated with sugar. There may be fruit, there may
be something whipped. It is nearly always sweet. Such things could work
with a meat, but what works even better with meat is cheese and
You will mix them in a small bowl – a tablespoon of cream cheese, green
onions, minced garlic and some fresh parsley. Mix these well enough so
that they come to an even consistency.
Spread them down the length of the flattened thigh. You will be rolling
this up, as if it were a carpet. Except in this case, the carpet tastes
good. At the top, lay out a thin layer of sliced green olives. Roll the
chicken so that the olives are at the center.
Salt and pepper the top of it, and cover with some crumbled crackers.
This will not only trap a little moisture, but it will also give it a
genuinely pastry-like appearance. Again, the trick is not to think too
Place into an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. When
it comes out, you may feel the need to again rip open the old debate
about whether this is pastry or just meat rolled with a filling. Again,
avoid applying too much thought to this. You can be certain of one thing
– it will make both tongue and tummy happy.
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