On my way home last night I wandered around Trader Joe’s feeling pretty lost for dinner ideas. We only have like 5 TV channels, so some weekend mornings I watch PBS cooking shows, which I’ve actually been enjoying a lot recently! Super informative and no commercial breaks! The last couple of times I’ve remembered to watch all involved puff pastry. Julia Child made an almond pastry one morning and Hubert Keller made beef wellington last weekend. I was pretty set on buying some puff pastry, but when I called Paul for suggestions he reminded me that we have lots of meat in the freezer. We will be leaving Boston pretty soon too, so I decided to improvise rather than buying more meat. I came up with four combinations and they were all delicious. Paul loved them. Like, really LOVED them. These would be a great, easy thing to throw together for an impromptu get together or a any type of entertaining, really. Or just dinner for two. I’ve listed my filling ideas below! They are all basically different combinations of spinach, cheese, mushrooms, and pork (in various forms).
Mushroom based: brown some mushrooms in butter and garlic. Let them release their moisture so that the pastry doesn’t get soggy. Start by filling a pastry square with the mushroom mixture. This will be great on its own. For some more variety and flavor add mozzarella, then either bacon crumbles, or small cubes of sausage. Or go for it all if you’d like!
Pork Based: I used a filleted pork loin that I had precooked and frozen. Defrost and cut into small cubes. Pile them onto a square with a chunk of mozzarella and some of your mushroom mixture. For a nice cheesy crust, sprinkle a little mozzarella on the top of the pastry.
Spinach Based: Chiffonade some spinach leaves. Similar to the mushroom based pastry, layer mozzarella and bacon, or sausage cubes.
Cheddar Based: If you have extra scraps of pastry after cutting your squares, use them to make cheddar and bacon pastry straws. Place thin slices of cheddar in the middle of the rectangle and then twist. They are great with or without bacon!
Have fun experimenting with different ways to fold your pastry squares! They don’t have to look perfect when you put them in the oven. The puffiness helps make any fold look lovely!