These creamy shrimp and mushroom vol-au-vents will be a new favorite for sure!
Light and flaky puff pastry shells are smothered with a creamy mushroom and shrimp sauce for a sophisticated but shockingly simple dish that's perfect for company or an easy weeknight meal.
What are Vol-au-Vents?
Vol-au-vents are a really popular dish up here in Quebec. If you're not familiar, a vol-au-vent (which means "blow in the wind" in French) is a round, light, and flaky puff pastry shell with a sort of crater in the center that you fill and top with something.
That something is usually a creamy sauce that can be made with chicken or fish, or some other type of seafood. Mushroom vol-au-vents are a delicious vegetarian variation.
The shells can also be bite-sized and filled with any savory mixture for a sophisticated appetizer, or "bouchée" ("bite" in French). Pretty much anything goes for the filling. Puff pastry is a blank canvas for your wildest imaginings!
If you've never made vol-au-vents you'll be amazed at how quick and easy they are for something that sounds and looks so fancy.
Where can I find vol-au-vent shells?
My grocery store sells large vol-au-vent shells (or "cases") in the bakery section. You may also find them frozen. The smaller bite-sized ones might be easier to find.
If you have any trouble getting your hands on them, they are really easy to make at home with a couple of sheets of regular puff pastry. You can see how to make them in this video from Taste of Home.
I love to make vol-au-vents with tiny local shrimp. They are sweet and delicious and their small size doesn't overwhelm the delicate puff pastry.
Any shrimp will work, though I think the smaller the better for this recipe. The tiny shrimp I buy are 80-100 count per pound. Here's a handy shrimp sizing chart from the Striped Spatula.
I like to buy pre-cooked shrimp for this, and just toss them in at the end to save time, but you can also buy raw shrimp and give them a quick pan fry before folding into the mushroom sauce.
Other filling ideas:
- Chicken: The most popular vol-au-vent filling is definitely chicken. Chicken vol-au-vents are reminiscent of chicken pot pie, without the trouble of pie dough to deal with. You can use a shredded rotisserie chicken and make it extra easy on yourself.
- Fish: salmon, cod, haddock or any firm-fleshed fish works well.
- Vegetables: If you want to keep it vegetarian, hearty mushrooms are a great choice. Peas, broccoli, carrots, corn, bell peppers or a mix of these work well too.
- Seafood: Besides shrimp, scallops, clams, or mussels are great too. Crawfish, if you have access to those, would be wonderful!
Here's how I make them!
Step-by-step shrimp and mushroom vol-au-vents
- In a large pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add a minced garlic clove and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add 8 oz of sliced mushrooms to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 3 minutes more.
- Add a 1/4 cup of flour to the pan, and whisk to combine with the mushrooms. Cook, whisking constantly, another 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly add the warm milk to the pan, whisking constantly until smooth.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes longer.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Add the shrimp to the pan and stir to coat and heat them.
8. Ladle over warmed puff pastry vol-au-vent shells. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
What goes well with shrimp and mushroom vol-au-vents?
I like to serve these with something green and a little acidic on the side to balance the creamy sauce. Try a green salad like this pear and arugula salad or this easy fall salad with maple vinaigrette.
If you want to impress company with an easy French Canadian dessert, I HIGHLY recommend this dreamy sugar pie.
Easy Shrimp and Mushroom Vol-au-Vents
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk warmed
- 2 cups about 10 oz tiny cooked shrimp
- 8 puff pastry shells
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 3 minutes more.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly stir in the warm milk and continue stirring until it starts to bubble. Cook stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes longer.
- Taste and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Simmer for another minute or two.
- Add the shrimp and simmer another 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- Ladle over the vol-au-vent shells and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley if desired.