The weather is turning and I am thrilled. A crisp tang is in the air as Maid Elizabeth and I head out for our morning walk and the foliage is beginning to array itself in fall colors. Fall always brings out the baker in me. The heady aroma of ginger snaps, crumpets and doughnuts fill the air. I'm back in my element, filling the cookie jar and stocking the bread basket.
Today, Chicken Cordon Bleu turnovers and Cheese & Onion bread were on the menu. I don't actually have a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu turnovers, however I do have an imagination, and this is how I imagined they'd be! I have a recipe for Cheese & Onion bread, but I did change it a bit so it would turn out the way I had envisioned this savory loaf.
I made the bread first, as it takes a couple of hours to rise and I wanted it to come out of the oven about the same time as the turnovers. The original bread recipe calls for making the bread, allowing it to rise, rolling it out (like cinnamon rolls) and layering sautéed onions and cheddar cheese on top and then rolling it into a loaf. My experience with rolling loaves with ingredients in the middle is less than exemplary. Usually, when I attempt to bake a loaf with a layer of goodies rolled up in it, the loaf comes out with a huge hole between the crust and the middle of the bread. Not wanting to repeat this failure, I chose to add the sautéed onion and cheese directly to the dough while I was kneading, thus spreading the goodness throughout the loaf. It worked like a charm! The loaves came out crusty and savory, with a moist, dense crumb. Yum!!! This bread is perfect paired with soups, stews or any other dish were a flavorful, savory bread is desired.
Cheese & Onion Loaf
Mix together and allow to sponge for 1/2 hour
1 1/2 C hot water (about 110°)
2 tsp. sugar
1 T salt
1 T yeast
4 3/4 C flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 C Cheddar cheese, cubed
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped & sautéed
Knead bread until elastic (about 10 minutes) and transfer into an oiled bowl. Allow to rise in a warm place until double in size (about 2 hours). Form into 1 large loaf (put in bread pan) and allow to rise until almost double.
Preheat the oven to 400°. While oven is heating, brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle 1/3 C Cheddar cheese on the top of the loaf.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until loaf sounds hollow. Turn loaf onto wire rack (I have to loosen the crunchy cheese from the sides of pan to release loaf) and allow to cool completely.
|Grated & Cubed Cheese|
|Adding flour and dried mustard|
|Adding the onions|
|And the cheese|
|Ready to rise|
|Brushed with milk and topped with cheese|
|Oh My Goodness!!!|
Earlier in the day, I had been planning on making individual Chicken Pot Pies for dinner, however, peeling potatoes and chopping a bunch of veggies didn't really appeal to me, so I had a change of plans. I started thinking of ingredients we have on hand that I could use to whip something up and settled on canned chicken, bacon bits and Swiss cheese. I used my favorite fried apple pie/pasty recipe and filled it with a mixture of chicken, onions, chives, bacon bits and Swiss cheese held together with a thick cream gravy.
The filling was ridiculously simple. I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and sauteed an onion in the butter. When the onions were golden, I added a couple of jars of drained, canned chicken meat. I added about 2 teaspoons of chicken soup base (powdered), a handful of diced, fresh chives and about 1/2 a cup of bacon bits. I melted another 6 tablespoons of butter into the mixture and sprinkled 1/3 cup of flour, mixing well. To this, I poured milk into the pan until a nice gravy was formed. That's it!
As the filling was cooling, I made a batch of pasty dough. It is very easy to make and never fails. I use it for berry hand pies, pasty's - anything that needs a crust that doesn't tear easily.
I made 16 balls of dough and rolled them out, spooning a bit of filling into each circle. I placed a small slice of Swiss cheese to each bit of filling, folded the pastry over the filling and sealed them with a fork. I baked the turnovers for about 20 minutes in a 375° oven. If you are feeling very wicked, you would deep fry these little beauties. Of course, I'm pretty sure you would feel your arteries hardening with every bite!
1 C butter
1 1/4 C boiling water
1 tsp. salt (if you are using this for pies, add a little sugar also)
4 1/2 - 5 C flour
Cut up the butter into a bowl and add the boiling water, stirring till melted. Stir in the salt and flour until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while making the filling.
Form into 8 balls (for dinner plate sized pasty's) or 16 balls (for a more reasonably sized dinner).
|Chicken, onions, chives & bacon|
|Filling with a slice of cheese|
|Chicken Cordon Bleu Turnovers|
Oh, dinner was wonderful! I'm sure fall with bring with it many more wonderful recipes to share.