Apple, Chicken, Chard Turnover | foodsciencenerd.com

Chicken and Apple Turnovers

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Nutrition Information, Recipes

I’ve been having a lot of fun with my new Cuisinart Food Processor. I have been using it recently for almost every meal that involves some kind of dough, shredded cheese, and/or sliced vegetables- this recipe contains all three.  I actually got the inspiration for this recipe from the Rachel Ray Show, which was on at the gym one day.  It involved cheese, chicken, and flaky pie dough and I decided I had to make it for myself.  Naturally, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I made a bunch of adjustments to better suit my tastes and nutritionally-minded sensibilities.  I honestly was expecting this to turn out only-OK, but the result was a flaky, cheesy, satisfying turnover that was perfect for a winter’s night dinner.

To make the dough, put the following in the bowl of a food processor (you could, in theory, do this with forks or a biscuit cutter, but that sounds difficult):

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut/broken into pieces
  • 1 sprinkle sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Pulse until the butter is finely chopped, then add while pulsing:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons ice water, a little at a time

The amount of the water added depends on air temperature and humidity, absorption by the flour (whole wheat requires more water), and temperament of the food processor.  Add water until the dough juuuuust holds together when squeezed.  It will hydrate more while resting in the fridge, and the butter will melt during rolling, which will contribute pliability.  Too much water leads to too much gluten formation, which destroys the tender and flaky layers your food processor worked so hard to create.

Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and mush into a flat shape.  I chose a rectangle.

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Let this rest in the fridge for about an hour before rolling out.  This time allows the flour to hydrate, which makes the dough easier to roll into cohesive shapes.  It also allows the butter to reharden, which will encourage flakes rather than goo when the butter melts and gives off steam between layers of flour during baking.  Halved, this dough recipe works really well as a quiche crust.

While the dough is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 375F and prep the filling:

  • Half pound block of sharp cheddar
  • 1 pound chicken breast, butterflied
  • 1-2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into small pieces
  • 1 granny smith apple, not peeled
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked and broken into bits (optional, I had some left over from a quiche the night before)
  • 2 pats of butter
  • Salt, pepper, and other spices as desired (cinnamon, nutmeg, or sage to name a few)

Shred a half-pound block of sharp cheddar cheese.  I used the grater setting of my food processor and it took literally 30 seconds.  You won’t need all of this in the filling, but I ate about half of this while I was cooking and you might too.IMG_0806

Season and sear the chicken in one pat of butter until just barely cooked through (it will cook more during baking).  Set aside to cool.IMG_0807

Slice or chop the apple (again, I used the slicing plate of my food processor).  Add the other pat of butter and shallots to a pan and saute for a minute or two, then add the apples and season lightly with salt and pepper.IMG_0808

Saute for a few minutes until the apples are lightly browned and beginning to soften, then add the chard and bacon.  I knew my boyfriend would be hesitant about eating chard, so I:

  1. did not tell him there was chard in the filling,
  2. added bacon on top of it, and
  3. watched this episode of Parks and Rec with him while cooking just in case he asked what the green stuff was

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Saute over medium heat until chard is wilted and apples are softened.  At this point, taste the filling and season.IMG_0811

Turn off the heat and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add the chicken and half the cheese to the apple mixture and stir to combine.  Try not to eat all the filling while prepping the turnovers.

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Flour a clean surface and place the dough on the flour.  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (this is where a rectangle shape comes in handy) using a bench scraper (seriously one of the best and cheapest tools in the kitchen).  Roll out each piece into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick, twice as long as it is wide.  If it’s not perfect, I won’t tell.  Cut in half into two squares and place about 1/3-1/2 cup filling in a triangle shape on one half of the squares.  I had a picture of this, but my camera decided I didn’t need to keep it.  Fold over the dough and press the edges closed, crimping together with a fork.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and repeat with the rest of the dough.

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Brush the turnovers with egg wash or, if you’re lucky, bacon fat.  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.  I added a little leftover cheddar on top about halfway through baking.

Apple, Chicken, Chard Turnover | foodsciencenerd.com

 

After some heated discussion with my boyfriend about whether this is a calzone or a turnover, we discovered something: all calzones are turnovers but not all turnovers are calzones.  A turnover is basically just dough folded around a filling.  To be a calzone, the dough must be pizza dough and it must be served with pizza sauce (and, side note, to be a stromboli, the sauce must be inside the dough).  Therefore, this is a turnover but not a calzone (in case you were wondering, I was right).  I wouldn’t necessarily call this perfectly healthy as there is a lot of saturated fat, but as far as turnovers go, this is pretty healthy- full of produce and lean meat wrapped in whole grains.  It’s a well-balanced meal and doesn’t require any sides, though I wouldn’t stop you from serving it with a vegetable.

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Despite taking a good hour-and-a-half to make (that’s a lot longer than I usually devote to dinner),  I adjusted the serving size so this made 8 turnovers rather than 6- enough for a lot of lunches.  These froze and reheated really nicely- like a Hot Pocket that doesn’t leave you bedridden.  I say it’s worth the extra time one night to have leftovers for days.  The bake-time for this recipe also allows for clean-up prior to eating, and since you could, in theory, eat this by hand, there are no dishes after dinner to worry about!
Chicken and Apple Turnovers

Chicken and Apple Turnovers

Ingredients

    For the dough:
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut/broken into pieces
  • 1 sprinkle sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 3 Tbsp ice water, a little at a time
  • For the filling:
  • Half pound block of sharp cheddar
  • 1 pound chicken breast, butterflied
  • 1-2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into small pieces
  • 1 granny smith apple, not peeled
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked and broken into bits (optional, I had some left over from a quiche the night before)
  • 2 pats of butter
  • Salt, pepper, and other spices as desired (cinnamon, nutmeg, or sage to name a few)

Directions

    For the dough:
  1. Combine all ingredients except egg and water in a food processor
  2. Pulse until all butter is finely chopped
  3. Add eggs a a little ice water at a time while pulsing
  4. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and mush into a flat shape
  5. Let this rest in the fridge for about an hour before rolling out.
  6. While the dough is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 375F and prep the filling
  7. Shred a half-pound block of sharp cheddar cheese.
  8. Season and sear the chicken in one pat of butter until just barely cooked through (it will cook more during baking). Set aside to cool.
  9. Slice or chop the apple.
  10. Add the other pat of butter and shallots to a pan and saute for a minute or two, then add the apples and season lightly with salt and pepper
  11. Saute for a few minutes until the apples are lightly browned and beginning to soften, then add the chard and bacon.
  12. Saute over medium heat until chard is wilted and apples are softened. At this point, taste the filling and season.
  13. Turn off the heat and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken and half the cheese to the apple mixture and stir to combine.
  14. Flour a clean surface and place the dough on the flour. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (this is where a rectangle shape comes in handy) using a bench scraper (seriously one of the best and cheapest tools in the kitchen). Roll out each piece into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick, twice as long as it is wide. Cut in half into two squares and place about 1/3-1/2 cup filling in a triangle shape on one half of the squares.
  15. Fold over the dough and press the edges closed, crimping together with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  16. Brush the turnovers with egg wash or, if you're lucky, bacon fat. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
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