Friday, December 31, 2010

A French Cooking Experiment: Bouchées à la reine

Though a small village, Kandern sports three grocery stores, and there are annual debates among English-speaking ex-pats as to the benefits and savings that are to be had at each. One thing can be said about Hieber's, Penny and Lidl this time of year: they are stocked with delectable holiday treats!

I have seen these little pastry pie shells ("Königin Pasteten" or "Queen's Pies" in German) for years in boxes on shelves and in bakery windows. In December, the meat section is filled with varying brands and recipes. My friend Sharri had raved about them our first year teaching here together, but I had never tried one. So Thursday, on a whim, and perhaps partly due to having not eaten a snack before grocery shopping, we picked up a box.  

There are lots of variations. Mine didn't end up looking quite this picturesque.
Today, I felt up to the task of preparing the filling after a morning trip to the recycling center. Yum! Isaac approved, and our plates were clean. The recipe is rather simple and a fanciful make for the holiday season. Enjoy! 

Königin Pasteten: Agnes Sorel
4 Pasteten shells
5 oz mushrooms, washed & quartered
5 oz lamb, cooked & cubed (I used leftover Christmas turkey, but you could try chicken or pork as well.)
1 T. butter
2 T. lemon juice
1 cup Béchamel Sauce (see recipe below)
2 T. white wine
1 T. Worcester sauce
fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Make Béchamel sauce.
  2. Saute the mushrooms in butter briefly over low heat.
  3. Add meat, wine and Béchamel sauce and heat through.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Pour into shells and sprinkle with parsley.

Béchamel Sauce: Makes 1 cup
2 T. butter
1 T. flour
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. cream
  1. Melt butter in pan.
  2. Add flour, milk and cream quickly.
  3. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly (around 5 min).
  4. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more milk. Likewise, if it's too thin, add a bit more flour. 

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