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Middle-earth Menu: “Blancmange Puffs”

Frodo & Bilbo

This birthday party is a huge event to celebrate Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthdays—they are 111 and 33, respectively. To be authentic to the book, you would hold this party on September 22. I’m not sure Tolkien tells us exactly how many people actually end up attending this event (hundreds, no doubt), but at the “special family dinner-party” twelve dozen, or one Gross, attended.

While waiting around for the actual meal, hungry hobbit guests would probably like to nibble on something substantial, such as these savory puffs. For a dinner, you could serve 3 or 4 puffs per person, accompanied with a salad or vegetable on the side. Or cut them in half to make 36.

“Blancmange Puffs”

blancmange

17.3 ounce package puff pastry, thawed according to package directions (such as Pepperidge Farm)

1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon salted butter

⅓ cup minced onion

½ teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ¼” bits (partially freeze chicken to facilitate cutting) *

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup long grain rice

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon anise seeds

1 extra large egg

1 teaspoon water

Candied Almonds, recipe below

In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium/high heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and chicken. Sauté until chicken is no longer pink; turn off heat and let stand in pan. In a 1½-quart saucepan, combine the broth, rice, and almond extract. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and put rice back in saucepan. Add cream, 1 tablespoon butter, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and anise seeds. Combine, then add the chicken mixture to this and let stand for 1 hour. Don’t bother washing skillet and use it for the candied almonds below, which you can make now while the chicken mixture cools.

Preheat oven to 400°. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray or grease lightly. Take one sheet of puff pastry and cut into 9 fairly equal squares. Put about 1 tablespoon chicken mixture on each square. Put about ½ tablespoon nut mixture on top of chicken. Don’t overstuff. Fold pastry over and make a triangle; pinch edges together and set on one sheet. Repeat assembly process with the other sheet. Use fork tines to press edges down on all triangles. Poke the tops of each with fork tines once. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush each triangle with egg wash. Bake 8 minutes; brush with egg wash again. Bake another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Makes 18.

* You’ll need about ½ pound of meat. You can use ground chicken, but you will end up with a better texture when you actually dice up your chicken. Plus, I find it easier to obtain chicken thighs rather than ground chicken, at least around my neighborhood grocery stores. If you want your blancmange to be whiter, you can use white meat, but the flavor is richer with dark meat.

Candied Almonds

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon anise seeds

¼ teaspoon salt

2 ounces sliced almonds

In a medium skillet, melt the butter and mix in the seasonings. Add the almonds and sauté over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Almonds should brown slightly; be careful not to burn them. Turn off heat and let stand in the pan. When cool, break up nuts gently with a spoon. Any leftover nuts can be used on ice cream or throw on a salad.

These are known by the same name in my current cookbook…

AstridAstrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available exclusively in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. She blogs occasionally at Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page or visit (and follow!) her Twitter feed. Staff Reporter.

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