Need a quick meal? Start with puff pastry

  • By J.M. Hirsch Associated Press
  • Friday, September 27, 2013 12:39pm
  • Life

Puffed pastry dough is a totally underappreciated ingredient, at least as far as time-crunched families are concerned. It’s so versatile and easy to use, I’m not sure why it isn’t in the rotation in more homes.

Let’s start with breakfast. Unfold a sheet of it, cut it into quarters, then spoon something into the center of each. That something could be almost anything: chopped fresh apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, fresh berries, red grapes, sliced peaches, even just a spoonful of jam.

Fold one side of each quarter over on itself, then use a fork to crimp the sides together. Pop them on a baking sheet, then bake for 12 or so minutes at 400 degrees. Done.

They can be prepped, then refrigerated overnight and just baked in the morning. And any extras pack well for lunches.

At dinner, you can take the same approach, but opt for savory fillings. A bit of ham and some grated cheese are perfect. Toss in some broccoli and it’s a complete meal.

One tip about working with puff pastry: You need to let it thaw fully before using (it is sold frozen alongside the pastry and pie supplies). You can do this at room temperature for 30 or so minutes, or pop the entire package in the refrigerator the night before.

This recipe for puffed curry potato pockets makes eight servings, but you don’t have to bake them all at once. Follow the recipe through filling and crimping the pockets, then freeze any you don’t want to use right away.

They can go directly into the oven for an easy weeknight meal down the road.

Puffed curry potato pockets

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed (each package contains 2 sheets)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, carrot, potatoes and edamame. Drizzle with the olive oil, then toss well to coat. Arrange in an even layer on one of the prepared baking sheets, then roast for 15 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle the garlic, ginger and curry powder over the vegetables, stir to mix in, then roast for another 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the coconut milk and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Unfold both sheets of puff pastry, then use a knife to cut each into quarters. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the filling onto one half of each quarter. Fold the other half over the fillings, then use a fork to crimp the edges together. If desired, the pockets can be frozen at this stage.

Carefully transfer (a spatula helps) each pocket onto the second prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each with a bit more olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 360 calories; 190 calories from fat (53 percent of total calories); 21 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 7 g protein; 430 mg sodium.

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