Are you ready to feel like a damn queen?
If the answer is “yes,” you definitely need to try this recipe made for a French one!
The Queen’s Bite
Known as the “bouchée à la reine” or “queen’s bite,” this recipe combines the best of a light puff pastry exterior (called a vol-au-vent) with a substantial poultry filling.
The bouchée is by far one of my favorite French recipes. It is a perfect comfort food and acts as a sophisticated replacement for pot pies. In essence, it is the perfect cold weather or dinner party food.
A Bit(e) of French History
Queen Marie Leszczynska (1703-1768), wife of Louis XV, is the likely originator of this traditional French recipe. Some say it was the result of attempts to attain the attention of her husband whose focus was elsewhere (ahem, Madame de Pompadour) by incorporating an aphrodisiac into their meal. Cheeky, right?
French chef, Auguste Escoffiern, classifies the bouchée à la reine as a hot appetizer in his Guide Culinaire of 1902. He describes it as of a round fluted shape filled with a poultry purée and cream, making the aphrodisiac story a likely rumor.
When served as an appetizer, the bouchée was typically plated alone or complimented by a leafy salad and/or grated root vegetables. Nowadays, this French culinary delight has expanded into a main dish usually accompanied by rice or mashed potatoes.
Variations on the “Bouchée”
In Le Guide Culinaire, Escoffiern describes 17 other recipes for bouchées of different names, shapes and fillings. For instance, some include asparagus tips with truffles (bouchée Grand-Duc), foie gras and mushrooms (bouchée Montglas), and salmon with hollandaise sauce topped with poached oysters (bouchée Hollandaise). Even more luxurious is the bouchée à la Victoria, a mixture of lobster and truffles in a lobster sauce. Yum!
He also notes that the bouchée à la reine had since changed and was no longer filled with a simple poultry purée with cream. Instead, this new recipe included poultry breast, mushrooms and truffles in a veal sauce thickened with egg yolks and cream.
These days, bouchée à la reine consist of chicken and mushrooms in a béchamel sauce. While some recipes are complicated (read: expensive and time-consuming), I like to keep it simple.
I have presented the recipe here in two formats, one using pre-made vol-au-vent and the other using homemade ones. Enjoy!
If you enjoy this, please give my galette recipe a read (and maybe a taste)!
Bouchées à La Reine
- 2 Puff pastry sheets or 6 vol-au-vent if in France/Europe
- 1 Egg (if using puff pastry)
- 1 tbsp Olive oil 15ml
- 1 Clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 Yellow onion, minced
- 1 Chicken breast
- 2/3 cup Mushrooms 85g
- 1/2 cup Peas (canned) 64g
- 1/2 cup Corn (canned) 64g
- 4 tbsp Butter 57g
- 1/2 cup Flour 64g
- 2 cup Milk 475ml
- Nutmeg pinch
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Dill to taste
Puff Pastry Method
- Place the puff pastry sheets on a flat surface and use a bowl or cup to cut out 6 circles of 3-4 inch diameter per sheet. You will have a total of 12 circles once finished.
- Take 6 of the circles and, being careful not to fully cut through the dough, make a smaller circle inside. These will be your top layers.
- Egg wash the bottom 6 circles, then place a top circle on each bottom circle, egg wash the entire thing.
- Bake at 400°F/205°C for 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. While pastry bakes, work on making the filling.
- Once baked, use a knife to remove the circular top part which has puffed up. Place filling inside and put the cap back on. Serve with a side of rice.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Remove the cap from the vol-au-vent with a knife. Place filling inside and replace caps.
- Bake in oven for 10 minutes so that the pastry warms. Serve with a side of rice.
- Cut the chicken into small cubes and chop the mushrooms (and any other vegetables) into small pieces.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Brown the chicken cubes and set aside.
- Next, cook your mushrooms and other vegetables, set aside.
- In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Wisk in flour, cooking for 1 minute over medium heat, whisking constantly. Add the milk and a pinch of nutmeg while continuing to whisk constantly. Season with salt, pepper and other desired herbs (I like to add dill to the recipe, but you can season as you wish).
- Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Once the sauce is thick and creamy, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chicken and vegetables. If you find the mixture to be too thick, you can always add in more milk.