Speight’s Ale House 3-Star Chicken

When you live within five minutes walk of a decent restaurant, you tend to choose it as the favourable option for any sort of celebration. This was the case with my first three Dunedin flats. The restaurant was The Speight’s Ale House; the meal was always a garlic Ale House loaf, followed by 3-Star Chicken with kumara fries.

I could never go past these crunchy filo pouches filled with a creamy sundried tomato and chicken mixture, so you can imagine my delight to find the recipe published in the local newspaper’s Ask a Chef section. That was about ten years ago, and this dish still holds a place dear to my heart; anyone who has ever tried it falls immediately under its spell, so it feels only right to share it further.

Speight’s Ale House 3-Star Chicken – serves 4

3 chicken breasts, diced
1 t butter
3/4 t chicken stock powder
salt & freshly ground black pepper
150g cream cheese
10 sundried tomatoes, drained and finely sliced
small handful fresh basil leaves*
150g brie or camembert cheese, cut into small chunks
8 sheets of filo pastry, halved horizontally

Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the diced chicken for two minutes.

Add stock powder and seasonings; continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Drain and discard juices; return chicken to the pan.

Add cream cheese; stir until melted.

Add sundried tomatoes, torn basil leaves and brie or camembert, and remove the pan from the heat.

Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200degC. Line a baking tray (or two) with baking paper.

Brush each pastry half with melted butter and fold in half. Place one over the other to form a cross.

Place 1/8 of the chicken mixture in the centre and fold each corner to the opposite side; pinch the top together so it looks like a little bag.

Bake on the prepared tray(s) for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm (the insides will be HOT!), with a green salad and kumara/sweet potato fries.

* You could use dried basil, fresh parsley or any variety of dried herb instead

Recipe: Speight’s Ale House – published in the ODT, ca.2002


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