This tasty treat came about one day after I rummaged through the fridge and found leftover chicken, some puff pastry, and a block of cream cheese. Sometimes the best snacks come about when you raid the fridge to see what you can find. A spiced cheese topping bakes right into the puff pastry, adding loads of really great flavor for you to pile your fresh ingredients on top of.
While I went with a kind of spicy riff here along with avocado and fresh tomatoes, you could also try substituting any kind of leftover roasted chicken and various vegetable toppings to your liking. This is a great time to clean out your fridge and see what might work on your own cheesy puff pastry. We’ve tried a lemon herb chicken, combined with some feta, fresh mint, peppers and cucumbers. Use your imagination!
Spicy Chicken Puff Recipe
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 package of puff pastry, thawed
one 8 oz brick of plain cream cheese
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped fine
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and minced
1 tbsp milk
fresh cracked pepper
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1-2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, sliced into chunks
The day before you want to make this, give the spicy chicken a little dry rub to get it going. Mix the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Dry the chicken off with paper towel and then dredge in the spice mixture. Place the spice coated chicken in a bowl and cover with cling film. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 hours, or even better-overnight!
When you are ready to make the dish, heat a pan with some oil over medium on the stove top and saute up the chicken thighs, a few at a time, until cooked through. The spices will blacked slightly, but this is okay. You want to cook the chicken in batches so that it doesn’t crowd the pan.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sundried tomato, garlic, green onions, cracked black pepper, milk, and the sharp cheddar cheese. Set aside.
Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured counter until it will fit the bottom of an average sized rimmed cookie sheet. Fit the pastry inside the pan, making sure that none is overlapping and hanging out of the pan. Gently spread the pastry with the cream cheese mixture and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and puffed.
Remove the pastry from the oven and let cool. When you are ready to serve, slice the cooked chicken thinly and scatter over top of the cheesy pastry with romaine, grape tomatoes, avocado, and sliced sweet pepper.
Slice the pastry into squares and serve! If you want, you can drizzle with a little ranch dressing as well. We ate this with a tossed salad for a light dinner, but you could also have it as an appetizer or snack as well.
Spicy Chicken Puff
For the spiced chicken
- 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the pastry and cheesy topping
- one 1 lb box of puff pastry I use Tenderflake
- one 8 oz brick of cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 green onions mined finely
- 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes packed in oil drained and minced
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 avocado chunked
- 1 sweet red orange, or yellow pepper, cored and sliced
- 1-2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the chicken
The day before you intend to serve the dish, mix the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Set aside. Dry off your chicken pieces with paper towel and trim off any fat. Dredge the chicken in the spices and set in a clean dish. Cover with cling film and set in the fridge to infuse the meat with flavor, about 5 hours at least or overnight at best.
To cook the chicken, heat up a fry pan with some oil over medium heat and fry up the thighs, in batches, until cooked through. The spices will blacked somewhat but this is okay. Just keep going in batches. Remove the cooked pieces to a plate and let them cool, then slice thinly.
For the pastry bottom
In a mixer, whip the cream cheese until creamy. Add in the sun dried tomatoes, garlic, green onion, milk, cheese, and pepper, mixing until combined. Set aside.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured counter until it will fit into a standard sized rimmed baking sheet. If your sheet is very large, the pastry might be a little thinner. You don't want the pastry hanging over the edges of the pan.
Spread the cream mixture thinly over the pastry. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and puffed. Let cool on the counter until room temperature. Top the pastry with the fresh ingredients, then slice into squares and eat.
Make ahead: Chicken can be marinated and cooked a day ahead of time.