We are Russell Alford & Patrick Hanlon, otherwise known as GastroGays. We’re a food & travel blogging duo who have been sharing our recipes and food-led travels for the past five years. We’ve been together seven years after meeting in DCU and have recently returned to Ireland after four years living in London. Our blog is all about sharing our love of food, coming up with simple but delicious recipes with Irish produce at the forefront, taking traditional dishes and giving them a modern twist, and of course embracing indulgence! We travel loads, mostly around Europe, and produce foodie travel guides to cities such as Brussels, Stockholm and Belfast to name a few. We’re also massive Eurovision fans, and have magically managed to combine food & travel into that- by writing recipes of host countries or guides to host cities. We’re also regulars on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show! You can find all our content on www.gastrogays.com and follow us on social media ‘@gastrogays’ on all platforms.
Serves 2 (but can be served cut in half and serve 4 in smaller portions)
-2 free-range or organic skinless chicken breasts.
-100g black pudding, casing removed and crumbled. (We love Clonakilty, McCarthys of Kanturk and Inch House from Ireland or Bury in the UK. Failing that a good quality one from the butchers will do fine)
-A few knobs of butter
-1 sheet pre-rolled, pre-made puff pastry
-1 egg, beaten
-Salt & Pepper
1 Preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 200C. Tip: Using a pre-heated baking sheet is vitally important to ensure you don’t get a soggy bottom after all your hard work.
2 Melt some butter or oil in a frying pan. Season chicken breasts and seal them for minute or two on either side, so the outside is slightly browned.
3 Bringing the pastry to room temperature by leaving it out of the fridge for about five minutes. Then unfurl it with the long side facing you and cut straight down the middle to make two pieces. Place a chicken breast one half of one sheet, and the second on one half of the other. Give it a bit of a season using salt and black pepper. Tuck it in if you notice it is too close to the edge; ideally you want about 1cm of space in order to seal the pastry up when you fold over the other side.
4 Get the crumbled black pudding in a bowl and a soft knob of butter to it and using your hands, mould it together, to about the same width of the chicken breast. We’ve found that on occasions the black pudding can go a bit dry, while the butter helps maintain a bit of moisture. Pop this either on on top of the chicken or under it. We prefer underneath, as it guarantees every slice of chicken is paired with a slice of black pudding.
5 Using a pastry brush, put a small amount of egg wash along the edges of the pastry. Then fold the pastry over the chicken and black pudding, gently pressing down to seal, creating a little parcel. Be careful, as the pastry could tear. If this happens, a bit of patch work can be forgiven. Press the pastry down tight, and cut off any excess; remember you’re wanting about 1cm around the whole breast. Using a wet fork, crimp the edges to seal the layers together, or pinch them together.
6 With a sharp knife, cut three lines down the top of the pastry . Then using a pastry brush, spread the egg wash across the parcels. This gives them an amazing colour when cooked. We like to add a bit of flaked sea salt and pepper just to add a touch of extra flavour, but this is optional.
7 Using a spatula, carefully lift the en croutes onto the pre-heated baking sheet and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. C’est ca!