Read The Laughing Chef's bio and previous columns


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 meat.


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 through.


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 vegetables.


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 much.


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.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column #TLC145. Request permission to publish here.

Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Bob Franken
Lawrence J. Haas
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Bob Maistros
Rachel Marsden
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Jamie Weinstein
Brett Noel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
Cindy Droog
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
D.F. Krause