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Chicken Wellingtons

Any excuse to use puff pastry in my kitchen is a good one, as far as I'm concerned. And the added criteria of wrapping the puff around nearly anything is most definitely a brilliant idea. These chicken wellingtons were reserved for parties and guests when I was growing up, a definite step up from hamburger goulash and chicken divan (although I was quite the fan of chicken divan as well). I remember eating them for the first time and thinking, 'wow, these are fancy' and 'man, what kind of cheese is in these things, I like it'. Well, not much has changed— these are still a wee bit fancy and I've confirmed that yes indeed, I really like Boursin.

Seamus and Gus have staked their territory in front of the oven. It's warm, there are always scraps of food falling from above and it's good exercise for me to step over them as I'm trying to make dinner.

My Mom's version didn't have spinach under the puff pastry wrapping but it adds a little color and a tiny serving of vegetables (every bit helps). Make sure you wilt the spinach and sauté it until most of the moisture has evaporated. There is nothing more unappetizing than cutting open the Wellington and having green, spinach-ey liquid run all over your plate (plus, it will make your pastry soggy...always a bad thing). These are a great make ahead, 'I'm having a party and want to be a little fancy' meal. You can prep them early in the day, cover with plastic wrap and hold them in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat.  Now that's a good use for puff pastry, indeed.

Chicken Wellingtons

4 tbsp. butter
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
6 ounce bag of spinach
6 (4 - 5 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 container of mushrooms, chopped
8 1/2 ounce container of Boursin cheese 2 packages of Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells
Egg wash (one egg beaten with 2 teaspoons of water)
Kosher salt and pepper

Preparation
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, and then add the spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and dry, remove from heat. Set aside. Combine the chopped mushrooms with the Boursin cheese, mix thoroughly and set aside.

Place the chicken breasts on a sturdy surface (like a butcher block or counter top) and pound out until they are flattened slightly and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté each chicken breast until they are lightly browned. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a generously floured surface, roll out each puff pastry shell to about 6 inches in diameter. On a parchment lined sheet tray, place a chicken breast (trim to fit the puff pastry if necessary) on top of the puff pastry circle. Put about 2 tablespoons of spinach and 2 tablespoons of the Boursin/mushroom mixture on top of the chicken breast. Place another round of puff pastry over the top, gently stretch to fit, and fold and seal the edges. Fill all the remaining shells and brush with the egg wash. Bake for about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.