Savory Belgian chicken vol au vents, a classic dish and a family favorite! Shredded chicken with veal meatballs and mushroom in a creamy white sauce… What a yummy classic this is!
Chicken vol au vents.
This is yet another excellent Belgian comfort food dish that appears quite frequently on our dinner table here. I would say easily 3 times a month. Especially on Sundays. This chicken vol au vents might be an old-fashioned one but nevertheless it is also extremely tasty!
Classic Sunday Lunch
Have you ever tasted it?
If you love a good meat ‘ragout’ with creamy white sauce, then you are definitely going to love this one as well. Oh how I love that creamy texture! And those bits if shredded chicken, soft mushrooms and meatballs. Excellent.
This dish is traditionally served with puff pastry. I made my puff pastry vol au vent cases myself from scratch for this chicken vol au vents recipe.
Puff Pastry Cases
Don’t worry. They are very easy to make actually. Take a look at my step by step picture guide if you want to try to make them at home! But you can quite often find them ready made in a deli or bigger supermarket here in Europe.
Nothing wrong with that, those are delicious as well!
Some restaurants don’t even bother. I have come across versions of this chicken vol au vents where the chicken ragout comes in a deep plate with a square of oven baked puff pastry simply placed on top.
Chicken Vol Au Vents Recipe
Which is also a great and creative idea of course.
I like that.
I love to call this chicken vol au vents a ‘lazy weekend’ recipe.
Because it does take quite some time to make this chicken dish. Not that I mind. I love the thought of spending my weekend in the kitchen to make a classic dish from scratch for family and friends.
Cooking on Weekends
So here’s how I do it. I usually boil the chicken and make the chicken broth on a Saturday. So that it can cool and rest overnight.
Then the next day all I need to do is to finish the chicken vol au vents stew. Which means that I have to shred the cold cooked chicken, boil the mushrooms and meatballs and then make the silky rich white sauce using the homemade chicken broth that I made the day before.
You can of course make this chicken stew all in one day if you like.
But it’s just good to know that you can prepare this recipe some time ahead.
If you want to prepare it all a day in advance to serve it the next day, then I suggest that you keep all the components separately. The shredded chicken, boiled mushrooms and meatballs and the white sauce. Store it all in separate bowls or ramekins.
Just reheat the sauce the day after and then add the other components to it to warm it all through. I have found that if you store the whole lot in the fridge and reheat it the next day, that the chicken and meatballs are totally soft.
Creamy White Sauce
I still like some bite and texture in it.
Yes indeed, I use the freshly made chicken broth to make the white sauce.
And it’s this broth that makes this chicken vol au vents very flavorful. Believe me, it really makes or breaks this dish. You can also use milk of course (or replace half of the stock by milk or cream) if you prefer but I don’t see why because this broth is so flavorful.
It would be such a shame if you don’t use it.
Fresh Chicken Stock
Whatever you do: don’t throw that rich chicken stock away because you can make soups with it. Or freeze it for later.
In Belgium we traditionally serve this chicken vol au vents with a good portion of Belgian fries, mayonnaise and a fresh green salad or watercress on the side as well.
Do you like the sound of this Belgian shredded chicken vol au vents dinner?
Then also check this next video out! Here I am, preparing my puff pastry vol au vent stuffed with chicken for a live Google Plus cooking show named Savour the Flavour by Lin Bloor! It’s been quite a while now, I guess about 6 years ago if I’m not mistaken.
And I loved every minute of it!
Now whatcha think of that!
Best Chicken Vol Au Vents Recipe
Belgian chicken vol au vents: chicken with meatballs and mushroom in white sauce!
- 3 lbs whole chicken (1,350 g)
- 8 medium white mushrooms
- 1 small onion chopped
- 5 medium garlic cloves peeled
- 1 medium fresh carrot chopped
- 2 stalks fresh celery chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 10,5 oz ground veal (300 g), or ground pork
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 2 oz plain flour (55 g)
- 2 oz unsalted butter (55 g)
Add the rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, chopped celery, carrot and onion to a high pan. Season generously with pepper and salt.
Cut the chicken up: legs, wings and breasts. Also chop up the remaining carcass. Add it all to the pan. Then fill it with water (I added about 7 cups or 1,7 l) until the chicken is fully submerged.
Place the pan over high heat until boiling, then leave it there for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat lower and gently cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. After that take the chicken off the heat and let it cool down for another 45 minutes. In the meantime chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
Transfer the pork and veal mince to a bowl and season with pepper and salt. Knead the mince well and make tiny balls of ½ oz (15 g) each. You should end up with about 20 of them. Cover the meatballs with cling film and store them in the fridge until later.
Then remove the cooled cooked chicken from the hot stock (don't throw the stock away, we'll make our white sauce with it later). Remove any chicken skin, bones, veins, cartilage or sinew (discard all this) and pick the cooked meat from the bones. Shred the larger bits up roughly. Then transfer the chicken meat to a large pan.
Strain the chicken stock in a fine sieve or colander over a large pan. I ended up with 6 cups (1,4 l) of flavorful chicken stock. Discard the cooked vegetables.
Then bring the stock to a gentle boil again. Once warm, add the meatballs and mushrooms.
Poach them for about 5 minutes. Then remove the meatballs and mushrooms using a slotted spoon. Add them to the shredded chicken.
Take the chicken stock off the heat now. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the flour and whisk well until you get a wet crumble.
Gently bake this over medium-low heat for about a minute. Then gradually add splashes of the warm chicken stock until you get a sticky flour paste. Keep stirring. Don't add too much at once or the sauce will become lumpy.
Whisk well. Gradually add more chicken stock (about 3 to 4 cups) until you get a pretty runny white sauce. In the end, remove the white sauce from the heat and add the beaten egg yolk.
Stir quickly so the yolk doesn't scramble. The sauce will thicken a little extra (this egg yolk technique is called a 'liaison' in French). Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Then add the white sauce to the chicken, meatballs and mushrooms.
Stir carefully. Cover the pan for another 5 minutes and let the vol au vent warm through or place it back over very low heat.
Put the vol au vent puff pastry casings onto plates. Top with the chicken, meatballs and mushrooms. Serve the chicken vol au vents hot.