Potato and Asparagus Parcels

Add a sparkle to your dinner party with these delectable pastry parcels with peppery sauce
By Simon Rimmer
Potato and Asparagus Parcels
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 450 g small potatoes, preferably Pink Fir Apple or Anya
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 40 g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 200 g asparagus
  • 100 g log goats' cheese, sliced in half
  • 250 g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

For the sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 stem green peppercorns, lightly bruised
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 150 ml port
  • 125 ml strong vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp cream, or to taste
  • 50 g dried cherries

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Combine the potatoes with the olive oil and tip everything into a roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are beginning to colour. While they're in the oven fry the onions.

2. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion and thyme until a good russet-brown colour. Season well and set aside.

3. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Blanch the asparagus spears for 2 minutes before draining and refreshing with cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and leave on one side.

4. Remove the potatoes from the oven, but don't switch the oven off. Combine them with the asparagus stems and onion.

5. Unroll the pastry and lay out on a floured surface. Trim the rectangle so that it becomes 2 x 15cm squares.

6. Place a slice of cheese on each pastry square, top with the potato, asparagus and onion mixture. Shape the pastry into a tight ball, brush with egg wash and bake at 200C/gas 6, for 20 minutes, until crisp and golden. While the parcels are in the oven, make the sauce.

7. For the sauce, fry the shallot in the olive oil until soft - about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and stock, wine and port. Cook down until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.

8. Strain the sauce and return it to the rinsed-out pan. Bring back to the boil and add a dash of cream. Continue simmering until it reduces to a coating consistency

9. Add the cherries to the sauce and serve with the baked potato parcels.

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