Happy New Year, my dear visitors! I hope you have spent wonderful holidays, rich in culinary experience and discoveries. Some of you might find themselves, like me, with a surplus of holiday food stock and I thought I would share with you what I consider a perfect way to use up chicken (raw or cooked), especially if the remaining ingredients are staples in your kitchen (they are in mine). Although created as an emergency solution, these mini tarts count now among my favourite warm snacks. Whether I have guests or not, I often bake them for relaxed weekend evenings with drinks. I prepared them for New Year’s Eve and once more for tonight, defrosting chicken breasts I haven’t managed to eat during holidays.
This simple recipe came to life thanks to an accident in the kitchen. I was having a small party an planned to serve snacks, including trays of tartlets. One of the batches has burnt, so I decided to prepare new tartlets with what I found in the fridge (luckily I always have more puff pastry than I actually need). The emergency tartlets disappeared in no time at all and everyone – including myself – found these better than all the ones initially planned. Since then, I have been preparing these tartlets regularly and never got tired of their surprisingly complex flavours.
TIPS: instead of grilling chicken breasts from the scratch, you can use here any leftover chicken meat (baked, boiled, fried, grilled…), but if it hasn’t been seasoned with turmeric, garlic and chilli, make sure you add it before the tartlets are baked (see instructions below).
Red onion cannot be replaced with white onion.
Preparation: about 40 minutes
Ingredients (yields about 12 tartlets):
1 package of thinly rolled out puff pastry (200-230g/7-8 oz)
2 skinless chicken breasts (or the equivalent of any leftover baked/grilled chicken meat + 3 teaspoons of chilli powder+turmeric+powdered garlic, combined together)
4 medium or big red onions
100 ml liquid cream (or half milk half cream)
Season the chicken breasts with salt, turmeric, chilli and garlic powder. Brush with oil and grill on a grill or under an oven broiler (I practice the latter).
Put aside and cut up into small cubes or thin slices.
(If using leftover chicken, cut it up and then combine with the above mixture of three seasonings).
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Slice the onions and soften them, frying at low heat in 1 tablespoon oil.
Season with salt and thyme and put aside.
Combine the custard ingredients.
Cut out circles slightly bigger than the tartlet dishes (or tartlet cavities) you have.
Grease mini-tart dishes (or a big mould with mini-tart cavities) and line them with the pastry, pressing with your fingers.
Place the chicken pieces at the bottom of tartlets. Cover with fried onion.
Distribute the custard evenly among the tartlets.
Bake until the crust becomes golden.
These tartlets can be made in advance and reheated in a microwave or, covered with aluminium, in the oven, at low temperature.
You can also partly bake them, taking out of the oven before they become golden.
You will finish baking them when guests arrive.