This chicken en croûte is rather like a beef wellington, but it's much easier to make. I think it makes an elegant and impressive dish for entertaining your guests, which also won't break the bank!
The chicken breast is stuffed with a delicious mixture of mushrooms cooked with brandy and they are mixed with the festive flavours of cranberries and chestnuts. Next, the parcel is wrapped in prosciutto then puff pastry.
Perfect for preparing ahead of time, so all you need to do is put it in the oven and serve!
If you are looking for an entertaining dish or date night dish, that you can easily prepare in advance, then this one is for you.
It would also make a great dish for Christmas day, if you don't want the leftovers of the turkey and are cooking for a smaller amount of people.
There are lots of ways to vary this recipe too, so you can add your favourite stuffing ingredients or leave it out altogether!
Either way, this recipe is not expensive to make but will really impress your guests.
- Chicken - boneless and skinless chicken breasts.
- Puff pastry - for ease I have used 2 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry.
- Shallots - the long banana shallots are easier to peel than the smaller round ones. Shallots have a milder taste than most onions and are heavily used in French cooking.
- Mushrooms - for the mushroom duxelles stuffing base, I have used chestnut mushrooms as they have a meatier taste than white mushrooms. For an extra mushroom hit I have also used some dried porcini mushrooms, which are rehydrated before cooking. These mushrooms have an intensely rich flavour and you can buy them in most supermarkets. Although they may seem expensive, a little goes a long way and they have many other uses.
- Garlic - garlic cloves.
- Chestnuts - vacuum packed or tinned prepared chestnuts are the easiest ones to use.
- Egg - an egg mixed with water for sealing the pastry and glazing before baking.
- Tarragon - dried tarragon.
- Oil - vegetable or sunflower oil.
- Cranberries - dried cranberries.
- Salt - flaked sea salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Frying pan or skillet
- Sharp knife
- Oven tray
- Wooden spoon
- Pastry brush
Start by making the mushroom stuffing mix.
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain in a sieve and then rinse thoroughly to remove any grit. Chop finely.
Finely chop the shallots and chestnut mushrooms.
Put the frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter and oil.
Add the chestnut mushrooms and shallots and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Crush or chop the garlic finely and add to the mushrooms in the pan, along with the porcini mushrooms.
Cook for 1 minute.
Roughly chop the chestnut and add to the pan with the cranberries and brandy.
Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is really soft.
Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes or it will start to melt the pastry.
Put the chicken on a board flat side down.
Use a sharp knife to lengthen the natural cut.
Divide the stuffing mix and form a sausage shape in the middle of the breast, avoiding the very ends.
Lay out 2 slices of prosciutto on a board and place the chicken on top, stuffed side down.
This will stop the stuffing from escaping also to protect the pastry from becoming soggy with moisture.
Cut each slice of pastry in half and place the chicken in the middle, prosciutto seam down.
Make the egg wash my mixing together the beaten egg and water.
Wrap the pastry around the chicken, using the egg wash to seal.
Trim off any excess pastry and make a few slits in the top of the pastry, without going all the way through.
At this point the chicken is ready.
💭 Top tip
- Cover and refrigerate now for up to 24 hours before cooking.
⏲️ Baking time
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6.
Glaze the chicken en croûte with the remaining egg.
💭 Top tip
- While the oven is heating put 2 baking sheets in the oven to heat at the same time. This will help the bottom pastry layer to start cooking straightaway.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
🥗 Side dishes
Try some of these dishes with the chicken:
- Cavolo Nero Kale
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese
- French Peas with Bacon
- Potatoes Dauphinoise
- Chateau Potatoes
- Potatoes Parisienne
- Fondant Potatoes
- Prosciutto - you can use streaky bacon, serrano ham or other thin bacon or ham to give flavour and act as a barrier for the mushrooms.
- Pastry - use the same quantity of shortcrust pastry instead for a change.
- Stuffing - swap the chestnuts and cranberries for fried bacon lardons. chopped walnuts, sun dried tomatoes or dried apricots.
- Refrigerator - make up to a day in advance and keep covered in the fridge. Keep any leftover cooked chicken for 3 to 4 days.
- Freezer - cooked chicken in the pastry can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- Reheating - place in the oven for 20 minutes or until piping hot.
Duxelles is the French cooking term for the combination of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs, cooked in butter until it is reduced to almost a paste. Sherry, brandy or wine is sometimes added and cream may be added too.
It is said that chef Pierre La Varenne named the dish after his employer Nicolas Chalon du Blé, marquis d'Uxelles, maréchal de France.
They are a big part of the beef wellington dish but are also used as stuffing, in mushroom sauce and in spreads.
More chicken recipes
- Chicken Supreme
- Coq au Vin
- Chicken and Leek Pie
- Turkey Pithivier
- Turkey Ballotine
- Chicken with Tarragon and Juniper Berries
More pastry recipes to try
Chicken en croûte
- Frying pan / skillet
- oven trays
- sharp knife
- wooden spoon
- Pastry brush
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 kg chicken breast 4 boneless and skinless
- 100 g proscuitto
- 640 g puff pastry 2 x 320 g pack
- 100 g mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 50 g chestnuts
- 10 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 25 g dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 2 tablespoon brandy
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6.
- Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve, rinse thoroughly and chop finely.
- Finely chop the shallots and chestnut mushrooms.
- Put the frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter and oil. Add the chestnut mushrooms and shallots and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
- Crush or chop the garlic finely and add to the mushrooms in the pan, along with the porcini mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute.
- Roughly, chop the chestnut and add to the pan with the cranberries and brandy.
- Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is soft then allow the mixture to cool for 10.
- Put the chicken on a board flat side down and use a sharp knife to lengthen the natural cut.
- Divide the stuffing mix and form a sausage shape in the middle of the breast, avoiding the very ends.
- Lay out 2 slices of prosciutto on a board and place the chicken on top, stuffed side down.
- Cut each slice of pastry in half and place the chicken in the middle, prosciutto seam down.
- Make the egg wash my mixing the beaten egg and water.
- Wrap the pastry around the chicken, using the egg wash to seal.
- Trim off any excess pastry and make a few slits in the top of the pastry, without going all the way through.
- Glaze the chicken with the remaining egg and bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.