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Chicken Braid? Yes, Chicken Braid.

January 20, 2009

Chicken Braid

My housemate, Hilary, gave me this recipe a few months ago, and I made it twice in three weeks. Those who know me know that I rarely repeat a recipe, no matter how good it is, so twice in three weeks is really saying something. Hilary says her mom got the recipe from Pampered Chef, but this recipe can be found all over the interwebs, with very little variation. I suspect it may originally have been one of those Pillsbury package recipes, as every version I’ve seen calls for packaged crescent rolls.

I did not use Pillsbury crescent rolls, though. I used puff pastry, and it turned out splendidly, perhaps, dare I say, even better? Key point, though: the first time I made it I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry, and the second time, Pepperidge Farm, and the Trader Joe’s was a far better choice. The sheet of pastry was a better size, it thawed more quickly, and the flavor was much more buttery and light. Just so you know.

This is one of those recipes that is incredibly simple but deceptively complicated looking. The short list of ingredients belies how tangy and creamy and complex the whole thing tastes, and who doesn’t love puff pastry? This is excellent for a party, because it can serve a good number of people and looks very impressive. I made it for a potluck, and it was quite well received.

Chicken Braid

  • 2 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 tsp. fresh or dried parsley (optional; my addition)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry

Let the puff pastry thaw according to the package directions. While it’s thawing, roast or poach the chicken, whichever is best for you. If you choose to roast it, drizzle a bit of oil over the chicken breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350F for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through. If you’d prefer to poach the chicken, fill a skillet with water or chicken stock (enough to completely cover the chicken pieces) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and add in the chicken pieces. Cover and let cook about 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. You can, of course, use leftover cooked chicken, or just buy a rotisserie chicken from the market and cut it apart, if you want this to be really easy.

Once the chicken is cooked, let it cool and cut into bite-sized pieces. You want to end up with about two cups of cooked chicken.

Mix the chicken, broccoli, bell pepper, and grated cheese together in a mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, thoroughly mix the mayonnaise, dill, parsley (if using), and salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture and stir well, so all the bits are coated with the mayonnaise sauce.

When the puff pastry has thawed, press the two pieces together at the ends so you have one longer piece of puff pastry. Place the pastry on a baking sheet, and cut strips along each side, about 1 1/2 inches apart and three inches long, at an angle. Do not forget to put the pastry on the baking sheet BEFORE cutting the strips, because trying to move it onto a baking sheet later is…challenging. Trust me on this one.

Braiding the Chicken

Fill the uncut middle part of the pastry with the chicken mixture. Then, working from the top, pull the strips across the filling, alternating sides to created a braid-like lattice. Don’t pull the strips too hard, because they’ll become too thin and won’t hold the filling in well. Be gentle with the puff pastry, and it will be gentle with you.

Unbaked Braid

Once you’re all braided, bake at 375F for 25 to 28 minutes, or until the pastry is beginning to brown. Let it cool a bit before slicing and serving to grateful people.

I don’t even care that I’ve already had this twice this month. I might just have to make it again soon. It’s that good. Thanks, Hilary!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2009 9:06 pm

    OMG that looks SO yummy. I think this will have to be my Sunday night dinner (Sunday night only because it’s the next night I’m home to actually MAKE dinner).

  2. mom permalink
    January 22, 2009 11:20 pm

    That does look tasty. I’m hosting a baby shower for Lisa and Andy on Feb. 15. Just might have to add this to the menu. Wish you could be here to make it. Soon. Very, very soon!

  3. October 30, 2010 6:35 pm

    This sounds so good that I have one in the oven right now. Wondering where the minced GARLIC goes (in with the mayo, or in with the vegetables, cheese and chicken)? – I put it in with the chicken/cheese/vegetables. Thanks again for sharing this recipe! Cathy

    • November 1, 2010 6:32 am

      I think the garlic can really go in anywhere. I guess I usually stir it in with the mayonnaise, but it all ends up together, so it’ll be good either way.

      I hope you enjoyed it!

  4. December 9, 2010 3:46 pm

    It really is from Pampered Chef – I started making it about 10 years ago when I used to have Pampered Chef parties. Always a good one. Thanks for sharing that lovely pic! I had forgotten how to position the dough and was looking for a good photo.

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