A vol-au-vent is a small, round puff pastry shell filled with a savory mixture of chicken, meat or seafood in a rich sauce. This classic French dish sounds and looks very elegant and intimidating, but it is actually quite simple to put together, according to 225 recipe writer Tracey Koch.
It’s also a delicious way to start a meal or can even be served as a main course. With the help of frozen puff pastry dough, Tracey’s version can be made in as little as 30 minutes. It’s easy yet pretty and is a perfect midweek Valentine’s dinner to wow that special someone.
Servings: Makes 6 stuffed pastries
1 package of frozen puff pastry shells (we use Pepperidge Farm brand)
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped shallots
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrots
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ cups seafood or chicken broth
½ cup half and half
¼ cup sherry
1 pound crawfish tails
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the frozen puff pastry shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the shells for 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and golden.
2. Remove the shells from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Cut the tops off the shells and remove any excess dough from the center. Set them aside until you are ready to fill them.
3. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots, celery and carrots, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to become soft.
4. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add the spices. Pour in the broth and stir until everything becomes smooth. Allow the mixture to thicken a little, and then stir in the half and half and sherry.
6. Continue stirring over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Fold in the crawfish tails, and allow the mixture to cook for an additional 5 minutes to ensure the crawfish are cooked through.
7. Fill the pastry shells with the warm crawfish filling. Serve immediately.
This recipe originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of 225. Read on for the rest of the Valentine’s Day-themed recipes, including Beet and Asparagus Salad with Mixed Greens and Orange Vinaigrette, Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and Strawberries Steeped in Port Wine.