Christmas Eve is traditionally the night where you dress up, go to evening mass (even those that are not raised in the church will often attend) and upon return to the house round off the celebrations with hot chocolate and, how else, a bread meal with luxury rolls.
So many of these traditions are slowly changing but one of the standard items on Christmas Day is this appetizer or starter for the meal: a puff pastry cup filled with a chicken and mushroom gravy. It is so seventies, but it is one of those dishes that is comforting, filling and familiar at the same time.
1 tablespoon of flour
1 egg, beaten
Dust the counter with flour and thaw the sheets. Cut eight circles out of the pastry dough. Out of four of these circles, press a smaller circle from the middle. Wet the full circles with a little bit of water, place the rings on top and brush the whole pastry with egg. Place the cut outs on the side, poke them a couple of times with a fork so they don't puff up too much, and brush as well.
Bake on a sheetpan in a 425F oven for ten to twelve minutes or until golden and puffy. Cool on a wire rack.
2 chicken breast
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 small can of mushrooms (or one cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced)
2 1/2 cups of white wine
2 1/2 cup of warm water
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle of thyme
1/3 cup of flour
4 tablespoons of butter
If you have time, marinate the chicken breast the night before in a bowl with the wine, water, onions, bay leaves, thyme and crushed garlic cloves.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, add the sliced onion and the garlic cloves and sauté until translucent. Dry the chicken, cut it into large cubes, season it with salt and pepper and quickly sear it on all sides.Add the wine, the warm water, the bouillon cube and the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the bay leaves, a sprinkle of thyme and pepper and simmer for at least 25 minutes, covered.
Take the chicken out of the stock. The meat should be tender enough that you can pull it apart with two forks. If not, return to the pan and simmer longer.
In a different pan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and quickly make a paste. Add a ladle full of your cooking liquid to the sauce and stir until it's absorbed. Do the same with four more ladles, until you have a nice pan full of gravy. Now add the meat to the gravy. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper if needed.