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  • 3 h
  • Serves 7
  • Medium




A little chicken, some small meatballs, or mushrooms and a creamy sauce packed inside a beautifully light puff pastry—that is a vol-au-vent. This is another must-have dish when in Belgium. The French have it too, and, just like in Belgium, it is called ‘a bite for the queen’.

You can’t have vol-au-vent without the pastry, and it is the taste of the pastry that tells you how good a restaurant really is. Most of the time, it is accompanied by fries and, preferably, a good beer.


  1. Put the rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, chopped celery, carrot, and onion into a saucepan. Season generously with pepper and salt.
  2. Cut up the chicken and add it to the pan. Then fill the pan with water (about 7 cups) until the chicken is fully submerged.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over a high heat, and let it boil for 10 minutes. Then, turn the heat down and gently cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. After that, take the chicken off the heat and let it cool down for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
  4. Put the pork and veal mince into a bowl and season with pepper and salt. Knead the mince well and make tiny balls of ½ oz each. You should end up with about 20 of them. Cover the meatballs with cling film and store them in the fridge until later.
  5. Then remove the cooled cooked chicken from the hot stock (reserve the stock). Pick the cooked meat from the bones, and shred the larger bits up roughly.
  6. Strain the chicken stock through a fine sieve or colander over a large pan.
  7. Then bring the stock to a gentle boil again. Once warm, add the meatballs and mushrooms.
  8. Poach them for about 5 minutes. Then remove the meatballs and mushrooms using a slotted spoon and add them to the shredded chicken.
  9. Melt the butter, add the flour, and cook, stirring continuously. Add a ladle of stock and stir well till it thickens. Add about 3 to 4 cups of stock, keep stirring till the sauce thickens.
  10. Add the cream, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the chicken, meatballs, and mushrooms. Ladle the vol-au-vent into the puff pastry cases and sprinkle with some chopped flat parsley or watercress. Serve with fries, rice, or mashed potatoes.

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