It’s a little strange, buying a house, moving into a neighborhood, and knowing that you will be living next to these people for, most likely, the better part of a decade or more. Of course, one of the best parts of moving into a real neighborhood is the neighbors (although I know some disagree). We are fortunate with the neighbors we have. Not only are they all friendly and helpful, but one of them is in the food business, and he gives us samples. Lots of samples. In fact, sometimes I am planning my weekly meals around the items he's dropped off for us. Two weeks ago he gave us some frozen puff pastry squares, which I turned into dinner last night.
People naturally associate baking and pastry with sweet, but there is an entire savory side that gets forgotten. It's surprising, because the dishes you can make are not so rare: chicken pot pie, quiche, empanadas, beef wellington, etc. I like to make my own pie crust for dishes that call for it, but puff pastry daunts me (all laminated doughs scare me. Still, I have them on my to-learn list). Quality frozen puff pastry does the trick, and makes this an easy weeknight meal. Depending on how inquisitive your kids are, it can be a great meal for children, since everything is hidden beneath buttery, flaky layers of pastry.
Turnovers with Leek, Mushroom, and Chevre Filling
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 oz. goat cheese crumbles
6 frozen puff-pastry turnover squares, thawed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Heat 1 T of butter or olive oil in a large skillet. Add your leeks and sauté for two or three minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are dark in color and both mushrooms and leeks are very soft. Allow to cool to close to room temperature.
Spread each puff-pastry square with a spoonful or so of filling, slightly off center. Be careful not to over fill. Moisten the edges with water, and then fold the pastry in a diagonal, pressing the edges to seal. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a teaspoon of water. Using a pastry brush or a paper towel, brush the egg wash over the turnovers. With a sharp knife, make two or three slices in the top for steam to vent. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
You can use any type of filling you would like, pick a cuisine and get creative: ground lamb, feta, and mint; tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella; you get the idea. Oh yes, and although I just made the case for savory pastries, don’t forget that any unused pastry squares could be dessert for the next night. Just sprinkle a little chopped, dark chocolate in the middle, bake, and there you have it. Butter and chocolate; who could ask for anything more?