Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicken Thigh Pies with Sweet Onion, Pear & Ginger

At the Bradley Smoker Forum the have a contest called "The Iron Chef Bradley" competition. It's a lot of fun to be involved because it helps me think out of the box a bit more that I usually do. This was the forth competition this year and the secret ingredients were: pear, onion and chicken thighs. The requirements are that 80% of all the cooking must be done outside either in a smoker, BBQ or grill...even an open fire!

Here's my entry. When the voting finished, it ended up in second place. It was my first experience with puff pastry and I was really impressed with how easy they were to work with.
Please note that I baked them in the grill on an insulated baking pan because this was keeping with the outside cooking requirement of the contest but feel free to bake them in the oven if you do not have an insulated baking pan.

3 large chicken thighs (approx 1 pound) cut in half
1 cup apple cider
6 slices regular bacon
1 TBS oil
2 tps minced ginger (divided)
1/2 large sweet onion sliced thinly (I used a Walla Walla sweet onion)
1 large pear peeled and sliced thinly
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to your taste
1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry cut into 6 squares, at room temperature for at least 40 mins.
6 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 tsp soy sauce
1 egg
1+ TBS water
Spray oil like Pam
Marinade chicken thighs 8 hrs in apple cider. Keep in the fridge while marinading.

Dry off chicken with a paper towel. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Wrap each piece with bacon and place on a Pam-sprayed smoker rack.
Smoke in a preheated smoker at 225F with apple smoke for 2 hours.

Have your pears, onions and 1 tsp of the ginger prepped and ready to go. Add 1 TBS of oil heating very hot in a skillet on the grill and when it starts smoking add the onions and saute till tender.
Then add pears and ginger, sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Saute for just a couple minutes and the pears are tender but not falling apart. Remove from heat.

To the cream cheese add the soy sauce and the remaining 1 tsp of minced ginger.

On a lightly-floured surface roll the puff pastry to squares of 6 inches square.
On each pastry, spread a 1/6th of the cream cheese mixture, then place a bacon-wrapped chicken piece and top with 1/6th of the sauted onions, ginger and pear mixture.

Fold over each puff pastry, moisten with a little water where the puff pastry comes in contact with itself and press down with a fork. Place on a Pam-sprayed insulated baking sheet.
Mix one egg with one TBS of water and brush on the tops of the pies. Cut slits into each pie to vent.

Place in a 400F pre-heated grill, close the grill and bake for 20 mins.
Bake until brown and bubbling.

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