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I have a tendency to have ‘old favourite’ recipes; ones that I have cooked for formal occasions a number of times to impress friends and relations. One of these recipes I cobbled together after ordering a similar meal in a restaurant many moons ago. It began as chicken parcels but for the last two years I have had to rely on other recipes to impress with due to my husband’s unfortunate dream about a cow.

The other night after a two for one deal for Camembert I thought I would try out this wonderful recipe with a vegetarian twist.

I have used chicken style quorn pieces in this recipe but you could use other chicken style meat substitutes or tofu or chicken or turkey for the meat people.

Serves 4
Preparation time: An hour or so
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
Level of difficulty: Medium
Level of impressing: High

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams of quorn chicken style pieces.
  • Cranberry sauce (in a jar but if you are feeling excitable make it yourself.)
  • Bottle of white wine, slightly sweet and fruity works best.
  • 1 medium white onion
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Butter
  • Filo/phyllo pastry, one packet
  • One small wheel of Camembert, sliced.
  • A sprinkle of dried Sage.
  • Two tablespoons of pine nuts.

Extras:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Dried Cranberries.
  • Lemon juice (this is good if you are not making your own cranberry sauce)

Method.

Remove the filo pastry from the fridge and set aside, but don’t unwrap it. It is easier to handle at room temperature and the plastic stops it drying out.

Chop your onion finely and crush the garlic or alternatively dice it finely.

Melt a little butter in the fry pan on a low heat and then put in the onion and garlic. Cook slowly until the onion is opaque.

Put in the quorn (or other substitute, quorn comes pre-diced so you need your alternative protein diced), turn up the heat a little and pour in white wine until you have almost covered the quorn. Then add four tablespoons of cranberry sauce and if using store bought cranberry sauce also add half a lemon worth of lemon juice. Add sprinkling of dried sage and if you have them a small handful of dried cranberries.

Simmer the quorn until most of the liquid has evaporated, you want the filling to be fairly dry.

Remove the fry pan from the heat. Time to begin the parcels.

Pour a glass of wine for yourself and anyone else who is in the kitchen to laugh at you in this bit.

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6

Melt enough butter to use for brushing the pastry.

Take your filo pastry and cut into rectangles about 17cm by 22cm. (This is not an exact science so go with the flow.) Place the first sheet down on your work surface, if they are not pre-floured you may find it easier to scatter some flour on your work surface; using the pastry brush liberally apply a thin layer of melted butter on the filo. Then place the next layer and smooth it down and apply butter. Repeat this process until you have four layers of pastry stuck together with butter. Repeat this process until you have four rectangles.

Add the pine nuts to the mixture and divide the quorn mixture evenly and place in the centre of the filo. Sprinkle some more dried cranberries if you have them. Now lay slices of Camembert cheese on top of the mixture. I tend to be very generous with the cheese because at this point with all the butter and wine the calorie count is high anyway. I also leave the rind on but this is a matter of personal taste.

Brush the inside edges with yet more butter and fold up the short ends first then the long edges over the top, pressing and buttering to seal it, forming a fairly liquid tight parcel. Brush butter over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish. Place on a greased baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Serve immediately with a selection of seasonal vegetables or a fresh green salad. This will certainly impress the most snobby diners. The best thing about this dish is that a meat eater may not even notice the lack of meat as the quorn soaks up lots of juices. An alternative is to have duelling fry pans, a meaty one and veggie one and impress the vegetarian with your caring nature.

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