Friday, April 2, 2010

Making chicken turnovers

I'd like to introduce you to a most sublime recipe that is absolutely nasty to make.

Well, nasty is probably the wrong term. Sticky works better.

These are chicken turnovers, and it's the crust that's the sticky nasty part. Because of the stickiness involved, I usually triple or quadruple the recipe so I get it all over at once.

Here's the ingredients for the dough:

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups margarine (or butter) - not shortening
2 cups (8 oz.) cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream

[I only had enough sour cream on hand to triple the batch, so that's what I did. I had so much dough that I had to divvy it up into two bowls since I didn't have a single bowl large enough to put all the dough together.]

Combine the flour and salt. Cut in the margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheese. Add the sour cream. This is where the dough becomes sticky.

Roll it out. Here's where it gets nasty. Be generous in your use of flour to flour the breadboard otherwise the dough sticks. Roll the dough to about 1/4" thickness.

I use a pot lid to cut circular sections. Don't try to roll out all the dough at once - only take a manageable amount at a time.

I pile the sections on cookie sheets. Usually - and I stress usually - there's enough flour on the sections so they don't stick to each other, but there's no guarantee of this. Consider yourself warned.

See? Sticky mess.

Tripling the recipe gave me 37 turnover sections.

Scrubbing the breadboard.

Next comes the filling, which thankfully is much easier:

1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
4 cups cooked cubed chicken
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Saute onion and celery in the margarine. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add chicken and parsley.

Well, that's the original recipe. But I loathe celery and will never cook with it, and Older Daughter dislikes onions so I don't use them. Instead I flavored the filling with salt, pepper, parsley, sage, and garlic powder. Pick your own favorite spices.

I like to use canned chicken...

...because it shreds so beautifully.

Here's the filling, all cooked up:

Take a third-cup of filling and put it on a dough section:

Fold it over and pinch the edges.

With 37 turnovers, I ran out of cookie sheets and used the table surface.

(Notice Lydia's attentive presence under the table.)

Using every available implement with a flat surface (cookie sheets, pizza pans, griddle, pie pans, etc.), I laid all the turnovers flat and put them in the freezer (except for the ones we had for dinner). Then I had a mountain of dishes to wash.

To cook, bake the turnovers at 450 degrees F for ten minutes, then reduce the temp to 400 degrees and bake another 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

After the uncooked turnovers have frozen solid, I layer them in a large (two-gallon) plastic ziplock bag and store them in the freezer. Put waxed paper between the layers (trust me on this).

There are no finer items to have in the freezer for unexpected company. Enjoy!


  1. Oh this sounds SOOOO good and I love recipes for my freezer. But I have a question.. what are the instructions for baking the ones from the freezer. Thanks.

  2. I have been thinking about trying to can chicken. do you can it with or without bones? what is your favorite canning book? It looks really handy to have the canned chicken on hand. Thanks for the info and God Bless, Ann from KY

  3. I can boneless chicken, though I believe you can use boned chicken. My favorite canning book is called Putting Food By ( which is worth its weight in gold.

    AFA baking the frozen turnovers: same as baking the unfrozen ones, though I'd leave them at 400 for a few extra minutes. Just keep an eye on them.

    - Patrice

  4. Thank you so much for your column at WND today. It was one of your best!

    P.S. I can chicken, too. I buy thighs and drumsticks in 10 pound bags. I usually get 5 pints of meat once the bones are removed and nearly 2 gallons of chicken broth. Yum!

  5. Patrice, really enjoy your blog and photos. Can't wait to try the chicken turnover recipe. When you cook the frozen ones, how long does it take (assuming you re-heat in the oven)?

  6. To cook frozen turnovers, I'd preheat the oven to 450 and cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400 and cook for - probably - fifteen more minutes. (In other words, keep an eye on them and don't let them burn.) I tend to like mine a bit darker but the family likes theirs a bit lighter, so you can leave some in the oven a touch longer if you wish.

    - Patrice

  7. Oh my gosh, thank you for this recipe! I have so much chicken from my last processing (fifty in my freezer), and I am running out of ways to cook it all! We eat a lot of chicken. These turnovers sound sooooooooo good, I'm going to try and make them today, if I can get the sour cream this! But if not, for sure by the end of the week! Thanks again!

  8. I just finished making your chicken turnover recipe tonite and am enjoying one right now as I type! It is delicious, and I have to say making the dough wasn't bad to work with at all. A bit sticky but a little flour and it was surprisingly well-behaved.:) Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us. It's a keeper. Thanks Patrice!

  9. I too made these today! I'm cooking them all ahead since I have no room in the freezers to cool them all and pack them in bags. We'll be trying them in a couple of hours and I can't wait! The mixture was delightful and about 1/4 of it got snatched up by little fingers before it even got to the dough. Thanks, this looks like it's going to be fantastic!

  10. Hi! Loved this posting! The pastry recipe was very interesting and I had to try it! Today, I used your pastry with a BBQ chicken filling. It was the best tasting pastry/turn-over I've ever had. Thank you for sharing. I'd like to share your recipe for pastry on my own blog, if you don't mind. Farmer

  11. Of course, you're more than welcome to post the recipe. I never thought to fill the pastry with BBQ chicken filling and think it's a fabulous idea.
    - Patrice

  12. After I sent you a comment about the chicken turnover recipe, I found it. time I'll look for the recipe first. I DID NOT know that one could can!..I'm sure after buying your books on canning, I'll learn that there's a lot more to can than I even thought of. God bless you and your family for sharing so much of your life. I'm learning so much from your blog.

  13. I love this recipe .. a great one to make for my son's school lunch box. This will be the third time I make them.