Preparing the chicken
1. Prepare the chicken breasts with the boning knife, gently stroke the tendon from each chicken breast to remove it cleanly.
2. Separate the fillet from each breast by lifting an end of the fillet and pulling it towards you. With the chef’s knife, cut the fillet into thin strips on the diagonal.
3. Put the seasoned flour in a dish. Dip the 3 chicken breasts in the flour; pat off the excess for an even coating.
4. Heat the oil and 15g of the butter in the sauté pan until foaming. Sauté the breasts over brisk heat until browned, 1 - 2 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side.
5. Transfer the breasts to a shallow dish and allow to cook. (The meat will not be cooked through at this point; cooking is finished in the oven.)
6) Add the strips of fillet meat to the pan and sauté over moderate heat, stirring, until they are no longer opaque, about 1 minute. Remove and allow to cool. Wipe the sauté pan.
7. When the breasts are cool enough to handle, cut a pocket in each, holding them flat with your hand.
Prepare the vegetables
1. Reserve four sprigs of tarragon for garnish. Remove the leaves from the remaining tarragon sprigs and chop them.
2. With the chef’s knife, cut the carrots, celery sticks and turnip into julienne strips.
Cook the vegetables
1. First make a paper lid to fit the sauté pan: fold a square of baking parchment in half and then in half again to make a triangle.
2. Fold the triangle of baking parchment over once or twice more to form a slender cone.
3. Holding the paper cone over the pall with the tip at the centre, use the edge of the pan as a gauge to cut the cone. Unfold the paper round.
4. Warm 60gm of the remaining butter until soft and brush a little over the paper round. Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan. Add the vegetable julienne with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Set the paper round on the vegetables, butter side down. Cover the pan with the lid and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Making the paper cases and baking
1. Take a sheet of baking parchment measuring 38 x 45cm and fold it in half. Put one chicken breast on the paper and draw a curve to make a heart shape when unfolded. It should be at least 7.5cm larger all around. Cut along the curve to make a heart shape, cutting inside the drawn line. Repeat to make a total of 4 paper hearts.
2. Open out the paper hearts and brush each one with softened butter, leaving a border of about 2.5cm unbuttered.
3. For the glaze, use the fork to beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Brush the egg glaze on the unbuttered border of each paper heart.
4. Heat the oven to 180°C (Gas 4). Stir the strips of chicken fillet into the vegetables and add the chopped tarragon. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
5. Spoon a bed of the julienne filling on one half of a paper heart. Spoon more filling into the pocket of one of the chicken breasts and set it on the bed of vegetables. Lay a sprig of tarragon on top of the breast.
6. Fold the paper over the breast and run your finger along the edge to stick the two sides of the paper heart together.
7. Make small pleats to seal the edges of the paper case.
8. Twist the ‘tails’ of the paper case to finish. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients to make four paper parcels.
9. Lay the paper cases on the baking sheet and bake them in the heated oven until puffed and brown, 10-12 minutes.
At once, transfer the puffed, brown parcels to warmed individual plates and serve. Each person can open his or her own chicken-filled paper case.
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