Is it wrong that I love retro food quite as much as I do?  I’ll happily feed friends my beef stroganoff and without a side of irony, or talk Hubby into picking up an M&S prawn cocktail on his way home (if Heston can eat them, so can I!). If there’s a Black Forest Gateau option for dessert then I can be usually persuaded to indulge my rare sweet tooth.  And I’ve got my eye out for steak diane on a menu because it’s been forever since I’ve had one of those.

So it will come as no surprise that I have an irrational fondness for vol-au-vents.  If there’s a plate of them on a buffet table I will make a beeline for them.  And Christmas isn’t Christmas if I haven’t had at least one pack of M&S’s party food vol-au-vents.

I finally made them myself over Jubilee weekend, having scoured the interwebs for an appealing filling recipe I found this on Gourmet Traveller’s site, and thought the celebratory tone the champagne gives it would be perfect for a family get together.  And they went down a treat!  So much so that I didn’t eat nearly enough of them and promised Hubby I’d make them again “just for us”, which I finally did this weekend 🙂  I also seem to be having a love affair with tarragon at the moment so this killed two cravings with one dish!


The original recipe seems to be for small canape sized vol-au-vents, however, life is too short to make my own so I cheated and bought some ready to bake ones from Jus-Rol.  They’re quite a bit bigger than bite sized, at least two-bite sized, so I’ve adapted my recipe accordingly.

Champagne Chicken Vol-Au-Vents
Yields 8
More retro indulgence! Puff pastry nibbles for parties or seriously posh TV snackage.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Stuff you’ll need…
  1. 8 Jus-Rol vol-au-vent cases
  2. milk or lightly whisked egg for brushing pastry
  3. 2 sprigs of tarragon
  4. 2 tbsp thinly sliced tarragon leaves
  5. 1/2 small leek (40gm), white part only, thinly sliced
  6. 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice
  7. 2 tbsp double cream
  8. 1 small chicken breast (about 250gm)
  9. 250 ml Champagne or sparkling white wine
  10. 125 ml water
  1. In a small saucepan, small enough to fit the chicken snugly and cover with the poaching liquor, combine the champagne, water, leek, lemon rind and tarrogon sprigs. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then add the chicken and return to the boil for 10 minutes (keep an eye on the pot as it will try to bubble over).
  2. After the 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and leave to cool completely while the chicken poaches through.
  3. Once the poaching liquor has cooled down, remove the chicken and finely shred it (fingers or two small forks are perfect) and refrigerate it until needed.
  4. Strain the poaching liquor only into a clean sauccepan (you can throw away the tarrogon sprigs and leeks) and bring to the boil again over a medium heat. Cook the poaching liquor down until it’s reduced to 50ml which should take 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it as it can cook down quickly – I kept pouring it into a measuring jug to check how much was left, then pouring it back into the pan and then back into the measuring jug, until I had my 50ml. Leave to cool completely.
  5. While the liquor is cooling, preheat the oven to 200C. Brush the vol-au-vent cases with a little milk or egg and cook per the package instructions.
  6. While the cases are cooking, combine the chicken, reduced cooking liquor, cream and sliced tarrogon in a bowl. Season to taste with lemon juice and sea salt.
  7. When the pastry cases are ready, divide the chicken filling among them and then return to the overn for 2-3 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. Scatter with something green and decorative, and serve immediately with the remainder of your bottle of champagne!
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller