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CHICKEN PHYLLO BEGGARS PURSES

One reaction: This dish is a visual knockout.

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 16 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick butter)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the chicken breast halves in half across their width and season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the parsley and thyme. Season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut the phyllo sheets in half, so you will have 32 (not-quite) squares. Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a damp towel while working so it does not dry out.

Place one sheet of phyllo on your work surface. Drizzle a little butter all over the sheet. Drizzle with a little butter, and gently brush the surface, especially the edges of the phyllo. Note that the entire sheet does not need to be completely covered with melted butter. Place a second sheet on top in the opposite direction to make a cross. Drizzle with the melted butter as before. Place two more sheets in an X pattern on top of the previous cross pattern and continue with the melted butter. Place a piece of chicken in the center and brush with a bit of the melted butter.

Loosen the sheets of phyllo with a flat metal spatula or knife. Using your fingers, carefully lift and gather the phyllo (as if making a pouch) encasing the chicken in a bundle with a loose flowing frilly top. Pinch the "gather" together and hold for 5 seconds. This will hold the package closed. Place each purse on a sheet pan and repeat with the remaining chicken. Refrigerate until ready to bake. This can be made in advance to this point.

Note: When placing the chicken on the sheet pans, leave enough space in between them so that they will become crispy on the sides when baked.

Place the beggar's purses in a preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for about 20 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). Do not overcook.

To serve the chicken, ladle about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce on a plate. Place a ring of julienne vegetables on top of the sauce to form a nest and place the beggar's purse in the center. Makes 4 to 8 servings, depending if you give one or two purses per serving.

Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 lemons, zested finely, and segmented
  • Salt and pepper

Peel all of the garlic cloves, leave them whole, and place them in a medium saucepan with the chicken stock. Place over a medium flame and reduce until almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Add the cream and lemon zest and reduce until a quarter of the cream is evaporated. Strain if desired. Add the lemon segments; season with salt and pepper. This can be made 2 days in advance. Makes about 2 cups.

Julienne Vegetables

  • 1 cup baby carrots, or 4 whole carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • Olive oil
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the vegetables lengthwise into thin planks. Stack a few of the planks on top of each other like a deck of cards and slice them into thin long strips. Keep the carrots separate from the other vegetables.

Heat a large saute pan or wok over high heat for a minute or so. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a large handful of carrots, 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt and pepper. Keeping the heat on high, keep the carrots moving in the pan for about 1 minute. Add a small handful of zucchini and a small handful of the yellow squash. Saute the veggies on high heat for another 2 minutes or so, keeping them moving in the pan.

Do not overcook them; they should be a little bit crunchy. Remove to a serving platter, cover and keep warm.

Note: If making for a large crowd, saute in small batches. Over-crowding the pan will cause the vegetables to cook longer, cooling down the pan and possibly making the vegetables too soft.

Food Glorious Food


Thursday, February 06, 2003

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