Chicken Rissoles

Like many savory pies of the world, rissoles have made their way all over the map, from Ireland to Indonesia. Rissoles can be sweet or savory and have many different names. In Portugal they are called rissóis and are often filled with shrimp or fish and bechamel sauce. The version below is encased in pastry and rolled in bread crumbs. They can be baked at 350F, but I like them fried.

These are definitely a weekend project. The pastry is easy, but puff pastry can be substituted if you would like to skip a step. While delicious fried, the puff pastry will be more delicate and you must keep it cool while working it. Also you could make the filling the day before.

They make great bar snacks and taste even better cold.

Makes 30

Filling:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 cups salty chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3 tablespoons parsley

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt

Dough:
2 cups milk, warm
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour

Coating:
3 eggs beaten
4 cups fine bread crumbs
frying oil

Bring stock, bay leaf, and peppercorns to a simmer. Add chicken, adding water if necessary to cover. Gently boil chicken until fork tender. Remove chicken. Stock can be reused (great for soup). When it is cool enough remove any tendons and finely chop.

Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic. When garlic is fragrant add chili powder, paprika, coriander, and cayenne, if using. Quickly take off heat. Add to chopped chicken.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, sprinkle in flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Allow to vigorously bubble. As it starts to subside remove from heat and carefully add warm milk while briskly stirring. Cook until thick (but not catching). Add to chopped chicken along with parsley. Mix and taste for salt. It should be on the salty side. Allow to completely cool.

Heat milk, butter, and salt until scalded but not boiling. Lower heat and add flour. Stir vigorously until dough is pulling away from sides.

Transfer to floured surface. Lightly knead with dough scraper until smooth, and it springs back to the touch. Do not overwork the dough. Divide into four sections. Place under towel to keep warm.

You must work quickly with the dough while it is still warm. Roll out the first quarter until 1/8 inch thin, adding flour to keep from sticking as needed.

Cut out 3 1/2″ circles (or whatever size you like).

Place 1 teaspoon of filling in center of the circle, leaving plenty of room on the sides. Firmly press edges together to seal in filling. Place on parchment lined baking sheet under a towel. Repeat with remainder.

Whisk eggs with 3 tablespoons of water.

Dip pies into egg wash then bread crumbs. Shake off excess crumbs and put back on baking sheet.

At this point you can freeze them for later if you want.

If using immediately place in freezer on baking sheet for ten minutes while bringing oil to 350F.

Fry pies until dough has puffed up and they are dark golden brown.

Can be served hot or cold.

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