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Chicken Calzones – Gourmet Garden Blogoff

17 May

We adore Calzones. I mean, they are tasty crunchy parcels of awesome so what’s not to love, right? I’ve decided to share with you my spin on this family favourite using the Gourmet Garden herb collection. I know it looks like a lot of elements, but trust me, its easy and delicious! Its time well spent and the reward will be your families smiling faces!

Thai Chicken Calzone with Coriander and Yoghurt Sauce

[  Makes: 4  |  TIME: <10 HOURS  |  COST: $10  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4.5 /5  |  MY RATING: 4.5/5  |  BRITTANYS RATING:  4.5/5  ]

Ingredients

DOUGH: ADAPTED FROM A BREAD A DAY

1 ½ cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups wholemeal flour
2 cups white flour
1 cup sourdough starter

Thai Filling:

250 g free ranged chicken – cut into strips
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
1 capsicum, sliced
1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
1 bunch bok choy, blanched
1 spring onion, sliced thin
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste

Mediterranean Filling:

250 g free ranged chicken – cut into strips
1 capsicum, sliced
1 leek, cut thin
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 tomato, sliced thinly
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup Romano Pecorino, grated
1 tablespoon  Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
1 teaspoon  Gourmet Garden Basil Paste

Yoghurt Sauce:

1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon  Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Coriander Paste
salt and pepper to taste

The list might be long, but its all basic pantry ingredients!

Method – Dough Preparation

  1. To prepare the dough, mix ¾ of the flour and water together until to difficult to stir. Turn out and knead until the dough is sticky and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap, and add the oil, salt, remaining flour, and starter.  Mix. If the dough looks very wet, add more flour by tablespoons only as needed.  Once desired consistency has been reached, continue knead until dough has been kneaded for a total of 5 to 6 minutes. Place the dough out into a large lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 – 4 hours.
  3. After resting, remove plastic wrap, slide a large spatula under one side of the dough, and gently fold it over the centre.  Do the same for the opposite side (imagine you’re folding a letter into thirds).  Then, turn the bowl 90º, and fold the dough in half over itself (as though you’re folding the letter in half).  Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1 – 4 hours or so.

The dough after the final rest is fluffy, light and easy to work.

Method – Thai Filling

  1. Fry the chicken in a little oil until cooled. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil the bok choy lightly in a little water. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Fry the remaining vegetables (except spring onion) and spices in a frying pan until cooked half way through. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Method – Mediterranean Filling

  1. Fry the chicken in a little oil until cooled. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Slice the tomato thinly and set aside.
  3. Fry the remaining vegetables (except the tomato) and spices in a frying pan until cooked half way through. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Folding and milk washing the calzones for the oven.

Method – Construction and yoghurt sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. After the dough has had enough time to proof, divide dough into 4 sections, covering the pieces not being used.  Form into balls and roll each out on lightly floured surface to a 9 inch circle.  If your dough is too loose and sticky to roll, simply press and stretch each piece into a rough 9 inch circle.  Either way is fine.  Carefully transfer dough rounds onto prepared baking sheets.
  3. On one half of the dough circle, layer your ingredients leaving a 3cm border around the outside. Finish with a serving of cheese before fold the other half over to form a half circle pie. Use your hands to fold the sides to seal the ingredients like a pocket. Use a knife point to place a few slices into the calzone to allow the steam to escape and apply a milk wash.
  4. Bake calzones for 35 – 45 minutes, or until well-browned.
  5. While calzones are baking, mix all the sauce ingredients together. Serve calzones hot with lemon, seasoning and yoghurt sauce.

Assembling the Calzones is a matter of layering the goods in an orderly manner. Try to keep your layers neat to make sealing easier later.

Mediterranean Calzone. Notice the thickness of the pastry.

Observations

  • Although there are a lot of elements to this dish, it’s actually VERY simple to make. The dough may appear to be time-consuming, but you don’t need much time to work it. The majority of the time is in the proofing stages.
  • If you don’t have sourdough, you can use some yeast and an extra half cup of flour and water. Adjust til you have a moist dough.
  • Use your imagination with the fillings. Try these combinations: Chicken and Mushroom, Chicken, leek and Camembert, Lamb, spinach and feta and Pork, apple and fennel. Be guided by your taste buds!
  • If you are not a coriander lover, try substituting mint for coriander in the yoghurt sauce.
  • As delicious as the yoghurt sauce is, there are times when a squeeze of lemon is a much better option. Be guided by your taste buds.
  • This is a fantastic finger food / communal meal for special occasions, intimate gatherings or family dinners.
  • Diabetic Note: I tend to roll the pastry quite thin, and its all the better for my blood glucose levels. I also avoid eating the edge parts which are denser in pastry content. This selective grazing makes this meal total acceptable for my diabetes. Remember portion control, and enjoy!
  • Ethical Note 1: At the risk of boring my regular readers, I feel compelled to share some information about the ethical benefits of sourdough. Sourdough is a living natural yeast culture that allows doughs to rise naturally under their own power (without the need of manufactured yeasts) and add a delicious “sourdough” taste to your baked items. They are easy to maintain and provide a wealth of health benefits. Baking with sourdough is fun and easy and is an excellent way of by passing all the additives in commercially available breads and doughs.
  • Ethical Note 2: I always use free ranged chickens. The taste difference is quite big and needs to be experienced to appreciate. Ethically speaking, the difference between free ranged and commercially mass-produced chicken is worlds apart.
  • Ethical Note 3: As usual, most of the vegetables are sourced from local farmers markets and where possible is organic,  ensuring the lowest possible carbon footprint. The taste and health benefits are evident, but the drain on the environment is reduced. Consider switching one meal a week to organic produce to reduce your impact on the earth.

The family table set to share a communal meal. This recipe makes four calzones, however my family of three can only eat two at one meal. YAY leftovers for lunch!

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10 responses to “Chicken Calzones – Gourmet Garden Blogoff

  1. narf77

    May 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Steve just had to get the mop bucket I was drooling so much! (that’s usually reserved for Earl whenever Steve has a chocolate…). MAN they look scrumptious! (can you guess I haven’t had my lunch yet? 😉 ) got to be making some of those babies someday REAL soon…

     
    • Rhianna

      May 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Like I said, there are a lot of elements going on here, but they are seriously delicious and quite easy. Play around with your filling combinations cause it creates an entirely new dish each time! Enjoy and let me know what your results are like 🙂

       
  2. Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    May 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Rhianna, this looks fantastic!! My mouth is watering and my tummy grumbling while am I reading it. Rachel x

     
    • Rhianna

      May 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Cheers my friend. It was pretty delicious! Hope its good enough to get me a look in with the judges 🙂

       

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