Introduction to Chicken Pastel
Originating from the Philippines, Chicken Pastel, or Pastel de Pollo, is a traditional dish. This stew or pie consists of chicken, sausages, mushrooms, peas, carrots, potatoes, soy sauce, and various spices in a creamy sauce. Typically, the recipe calls for dry chorizos (like Chorizo de Bilbao or Chorizo de Macao), Vienna sausages, or hotdogs. While the dish has Spanish roots, specifically from the Spanish dish Pastel de Pollo, it has evolved to use local Philippine ingredients. Unlike the Spanish version, people usually don’t bake the Filipino version into a pie, and it is often served with white rice. There’s also a pork version, known as Pork Pastel.
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Importance in Cuisine
Chicken Pastel is a cherished dish in Filipino cuisine, particularly during the Christmas season. It reflects the Philippines’ rich and diverse culinary traditions, offering a unique blend of local and international flavors. The dish incorporates various ingredients like chorizos, mushrooms, peas, and spices, showcasing the cultural diversity of the Philippines. This delightful dish provides a unique taste experience for both locals and visitors. Its creation demonstrates the creativity and adaptability of Filipinos in the kitchen, as they took inspiration from Spanish cuisine and made it their own.
Essential Ingredients for Chicken Pastel:
- 2 lbs chicken breast (cut into cubes)
- 1 piece Knorr Chicken Cube
- 1 piece Chorizo de Bilbao (sliced)
- 4 pieces hotdogs (sliced)
- 1 piece potato (cubed)
- 1 piece carrot (sliced)
- 1 piece red bell pepper (sliced)
- 1 piece green bell pepper (sliced)
- 3/4 cup button mushroom (sliced)
- 15 ounces all-purpose cream
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 piece lime
- 1 piece onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3/4 cup water
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Chicken: You can use bone-in chicken breasts or boneless breasts. The recipe uses chicken breast cut into cubes, but you can use other parts of the chicken if you prefer.
- Lime: Calamansi can be a good alternative to lime. Use around 3 pieces of medium-sized calamansi as a substitute.
- Chorizo de Bilbao: Chinese sausage can be a good alternative to Chorizo de Bilbao, providing a different but delightful flavor to the dish.
- All-purpose cream: Table cream can be used as an alternative to all-purpose cream.
- Marinate the chicken in lime and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
- Saute onion and garlic, then add the chorizo.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook until it turns light brown.
- Add water and the Knorr Chicken Cube, then add hotdogs and cook until the liquid reduces to half.
- Add potato and carrots, followed by the all-purpose cream. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Add mushrooms and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Cooking Utensils Needed
Essential Cooking Utensils:
- Chef’s Knife: A high-quality chef’s knife is crucial for efficient cooking. It is versatile, allowing you to cut, chop, and slice various ingredients. For budget options, consider brands like Victorinox.
- Cutting Board: Opt for a durable and well-designed cutting board, like the OXO good grips, which is dishwasher safe and made from odor-resistant polypropylene.
- Can Opener: A multi-functional can opener, like the one from Kuhn Rikon, is recommended for ease of use and efficiency.
- Measuring Cups & Spoons: Invest in a set of high-quality measuring cups and spoons for precise measurement of ingredients.
- Mixing Bowls: A set of mixing bowls is essential for preparing dressings, marinades, and storing leftovers.
- Colander: Necessary for draining pasta and washing vegetables.
- Vegetable Peeler & Potato Masher: These tools speed up preparation time.
- Whisk: An ergonomically designed whisk is essential for preparing dressings, sauces, and desserts.
- Salad Spinner: Useful for drying salad greens to prevent sogginess.
- Grater: A multi-purpose grater can be used for various tasks, eliminating the need for multiple, single-purpose tools.
- Shears: Useful for cutting meats, vegetables, herbs, and even flower stems.
- Citrus Juicer: A quality citrus juicer simplifies the process of juicing lemons, limes, and oranges.
- Garlic Press: While not absolutely necessary, a garlic press can simplify the process of crushing garlic.
- Paring Knife & Bread Knife: These are specialized knives that are useful for specific tasks in the kitchen.
- Multi-Functional Tools: Opt for tools that can perform multiple functions to save space and money. For example, a 7-in-1 box grater can perform various grating tasks, eliminating the need for separate zesters, chiffonades, and other grating tools.
- Budget Options: For those on a budget, consider purchasing budget versions of essential tools. For example, Victorinox offers affordable yet high-quality alternatives for chef’s knives, paring knives, and bread knives.
- Manual Tools: Instead of investing in electric appliances, consider manual alternatives that are often cheaper and easier to maintain. For example, a manual citrus juicer can be just as effective as an electric one but at a fraction of the cost.
- Quality Over Quantity: Invest in high-quality tools that will last a long time, even if they are a bit more expensive. High-quality tools are often more durable and efficient, saving you money in the long run.
- Multi-Purpose Over Single-Purpose: Whenever possible, choose multi-purpose tools over single-purpose ones to save space and money.
- Personal Needs: Your personal cooking style and the dishes you frequently prepare should guide your choice of cooking utensils. Don’t invest in tools you won’t use often.
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Preparation Steps for Chicken Pastel
- Select Chicken Pieces: Choose bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces like thighs and drumsticks. These parts are flavorful and stay moist during cooking.
- Clean and Cut: Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly under cold running water. Pat them dry with paper towels. If the pieces are large, you may cut them into smaller, bite-sized portions.
- Season: Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and any other preferred spices or herbs. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Select Vegetables: Choose a variety of vegetables that complement the chicken, such as carrots, potatoes, bell peppers, and peas.
- Wash and Peel: Rinse the selected vegetables under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Peel the skin off from vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
- Chop: Cut the vegetables into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. For instance, dice the carrots and potatoes, and slice the bell peppers into strips.
Pastel Sauce preparation:
- Make Roux: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add an equal amount of all-purpose flour and whisk continuously until the mixture becomes paste-like and golden.
- Add Liquids: Gradually pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Season: Add salt, pepper, and other desired seasonings to taste. Adjust the consistency of the sauce with more broth or milk if necessary. Optionally, you can also add some grated cheese for extra richness and flavor.
- Cook Chicken: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides.
- Add Vegetables: Incorporate the prepared vegetables and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
- Pour Sauce: Add the prepared Pastel sauce to the pot, stirring well to coat the chicken and vegetables evenly.
- Simmer: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the Chicken Pastel simmer until the chicken and vegetables are tender and the flavors meld together.
- Serve the Chicken Pastel hot over steamed rice or with a side of crusty bread.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for added color and flavor.
Enjoy your delicious and comforting Chicken Pastel!
Step-by-Step Cooking Guide:
- Marinate Chicken:
- In a bowl, combine chicken pieces, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Sauté Ingredients:
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions until translucent.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook until browned.
- Add chorizo, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add Liquids:
- Pour in the all-purpose cream and chicken broth. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and let it cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are tender.
- Add Remaining Ingredients:
- Stir in the green peas, red bell pepper, and grated cheese (if using). Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Prepare Pastry Crust (Optional):
- If you want to add a pastry crust, transfer the cooked Chicken Pastel to a baking dish.
- Cover the dish with a rolled-out pastry crust, sealing the edges tightly.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Once done, remove the Chicken Pastel from the oven (if baked) and let it cool slightly before serving.
- Adjust the seasoning as per your taste preference.
- You can add or omit vegetables based on what you have available.
- If you don’t want to use a pastry crust, you can serve the Chicken Pastel as is, over rice.
Enjoy your delicious and comforting Chicken Pastel! This dish is perfect for family dinners and special occasions. Happy cooking!
Traditional Serving Style for Chicken Pastel:
- Casserole Dish:
- Chicken pastel is traditionally served in a casserole or a deep dish.
- Present the dish in a large, ceramic or glass baking dish that goes from oven to table to keep it warm.
- With Pastry Topping:
- Some variations of chicken pastel are covered with a flaky pastry topping.
- Serve it with the baked crust on top, allowing guests to break through the crust to access the creamy filling.
- Side of Rice:
- Offer steamed rice on the side, as chicken pastel is often enjoyed with rice.
- Place the rice in a separate serving bowl or individual plates.
Modern Plating Techniques for Chicken Pastel:
- Deconstructed Presentation:
- Serve the creamy chicken filling in individual, small-sized ramekins or bowls.
- Place a separately baked puff pastry or a slice of crusty bread on the side or on top of each serving.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for a pop of color and freshness.
- Consider adding edible flowers or microgreens for an elegant touch.
- Sauce Drizzle:
- If the chicken pastel has a creamy sauce, artistically drizzle or dot the sauce around the plate for a visually appealing presentation.
- Individual Servings:
- Consider serving chicken pastel in individual portions using modern serving ware like mini cocottes or small, shallow bowls for a personalized touch.
Tips for Both Styles:
- Temperature: Ensure the chicken pastel is served warm to highlight its comforting and hearty qualities.
- Complementary Sides: Consider serving with a light salad or steamed vegetables to balance the richness of the dish.
- Quality Ingredients: Use fresh chicken and vegetables, as well as high-quality cream and pastry, for the best flavor and presentation.
Whether you opt for a traditional or contemporary serving style, these suggestions can help you present chicken pastel in a way that is both visually appealing and delicious!
Pairing Chicken Pastel with Drinks
Chicken Pastel is a creamy and savory dish that is well-loved for its rich flavors. When pairing drinks with Chicken Pastel, it’s essential to consider beverages that can complement its creamy texture and the various ingredients within the dish, such as chicken, sausages, and vegetables. Below are some non-alcoholic drink options that pair well with Chicken Pastel.
- Lemonade: The tartness and sweetness of lemonade provide a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors of Chicken Pastel. Opt for freshly squeezed lemonade for the best experience.
- Iced Tea: A glass of cold iced tea, either sweetened or unsweetened, can be a great palate cleanser. You can also add a slice of lemon for an extra zesty flavor.
- Sparkling Water with Citrus: Sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime juice is a simple and refreshing drink that can help cut through the richness of the dish.
- Coconut Water: For a tropical twist, consider serving Chicken Pastel with chilled coconut water. Its natural sweetness and subtle nutty flavor can complement the creamy and savory notes of the dish beautifully.
When selecting a drink to pair with Chicken Pastel, consider the balance of flavors. The drink should neither overpower nor be overpowered by the dish.
Health Benefits of Chicken Pastel
Chicken Pastel is nutritious due to its diverse ingredients. Chicken, the main component, is a significant source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair, and is low in fat, especially when using lean parts like the breast (source). The vegetables in the dish, such as peas, carrots, and potatoes, are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, supporting overall health and aiding in digestion. For a healthier version, consider using low-fat alternatives for cream and cheese in the sauce, reducing the dish’s overall calorie content.
Chicken Pastel can be adapted for various diets:
- Low-Carb Diets: Reduce the number of potatoes or substitute them with low-carb vegetables like cauliflower for those following a low-carb diet (source).
- Gluten-Free Diets: Ensure gluten-free sausages and other ingredients are used, along with a gluten-free thickening agent for the sauce if necessary (source).
- Dairy-Free Diets: Use dairy-free alternatives for cream and cheese in the sauce for a dairy-free version of the dish (source).
Moderation is key due to its calorie content. Always consider your dietary needs and consult with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist for personalized dietary advice.
Chicken pastel FAQS
Chicken Pastel is a traditional savory casserole dish originating in the Philippines. It typically includes marinated chicken, sausage (often Chorizo de Bilbao or hotdogs), various vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms), and a pastry or pastry-like topping. The chicken is usually marinated in a mix of soy sauce and lemon juice, giving it a rich, tangy flavor. The dish may also incorporate cheese to enhance the flavor and creaminess.
Chicken Pastel has its roots in the Philippines, drawing inspiration from the Spanish dish known as pastel de pollo, similar to a chicken pot pie or empanada. The dish has evolved with many variations, with Filipino families often having their own traditional interpretations. The dish reflects the culinary influences in the Philippines, including Spanish, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines, leading to a rich diversity in its preparation and ingredients.
A serving of Chicken Pastel (100g) contains approximately 200 calories. The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Dietary Fiber: 1.2g
For soft chicken tenders, you can use an all-purpose chicken tender seasoning suitable for various cooking methods, including baking, grilling, pan-frying, or air frying. Here’s a general guide:
Pat dry the chicken tenders and toss them with oil.
Blend your seasonings in a small bowl. You can use a mix of lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, smoked paprika, and salt. Adjust the spice levels to your preference.
Toss the chicken with half of the seasonings, then rub each piece with the remaining seasonings to ensure they are fully coated for maximum flavor.
Feel free to make swaps and substitutions to the spices to achieve the flavor profile you desire. For example, you can substitute smoked paprika with regular or sweet paprika, use an Italian seasoning blend instead of dried parsley for an Italian flavor, or add cayenne pepper for some heat.