Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Rustic Bacon and Chicken Tart

It started from a picture in my copy of Cooking for Two 2010 by America's Test Kitchen. A recipe for Rustic Turkey Tart taunted me. The main ingredient was 10oz of cooked turkey, shredded. Now I am more than happy to roast a turkey for major holidays, but I don't make it a weekly occurrence so my fridge is not laden down with Tupperware of turkey calling out to be used.

(This is my changed version, not Cook's Illustrated original)

So, seeing as I knew I was going to be substituting Chicken for Turkey, I wondered what other changes I could make to make the Tart my own. The original recipe called for mushrooms, now I am a big fan of fungi, but Jenny - the neighbor I am teaching to cook isn't. I wondered how I could transform the filling to make it pleasurable on Jenny's palate. Well, once you start changing recipes it's amazing how far you can go, so here is my new adaptation (with notes and queries below). If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Rustic Bacon and Chicken Tart

Serves 2-3 and takes about 1 hour 40 to make.

2 carrots, peeled and diced.
1 small onion, diced
4 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup chicken broth/stock
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and Pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 round of store bought pastry (such as Pillsbury Just Unroll!)

You will also need, cooking parchment, saran wrap, a rolling pin and a rimmed baking sheet.

To make the filling:
  1. Saute the bacon in a skillet until the fat begins to render, add the onion and the carrot and saute lightly for 5 minutes.

  2. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.

  3. Cover the skillet with a tightly fitting lid, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked. (I use an instant read meat thermometer to check!) If you are making this all in one session now is a good time to preheat the oven to 400F.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, put 1 tablespoon of flour in a small bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of cream to it and mix thoroughly until no lumps remain.

  5. Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks.

  6. While you are shredding the chicken, stir the flour cream mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil for a few minutes to thicken, stirring. Then reduce the heat while you finish the chicken.

  7. When the chicken is shredded and the sauce slightly thickened add the chicken back into the skillet. Also add the peas and the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
It should look something like this!

All of this can of course be done in advance and kept in the fridge.

To assemble the tart:
  1. Unroll the pie crust onto some baking parchment. cover with saran wrap and then roll out slightly until it is a 10 inch round. This will only take a few passes with the rolling pin, don't make it too thin or disaster could ensue.

  2. Place the rolled out pastry onto the rimmed baking sheet and place the slightly cooled filling into the middle leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the edge.

  3. Moving gently around the circumference fold the edge of the dough in over the filling pleating every 1 to 2 inches as needed. Don't be too rough or you will rip the pastry!
  4. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg white and then bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let sit on a rack for 5 minutes and then cut and serve.

You'll notice a little seepage from the Tart, I don't think I've managed one yet without something leaking somewhere, but it hasn't distracted from the yumminess and the parchment paper makes it easy to clean. If you want to make a neater presentation it is simplicity itself to slide it off the parchment onto a platter. Just cut and serve!

I'm happy with the recipe, but here are a few more thoughts to improve/modify.

  • Make your own pastry! I haven't done it that way yet because I wanted to make something that Jenny would feel safe making and the tart is scary enough without pastry making as well, but I'm positive that homemade pastry would taste so much better than the stuff Pillsbury makes.
  • To speed up the cooking of the chicken I have wondered about either a) using 4 chicken cutlets instead of 2 chicken breasts, or b) cutting the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make them thinner. They would cook quicker, there is room in the skillet, and as you are shredding them anyway the thinner cutlets won't matter. I think this technique could cut the chicken cooking time in half. I haven't tried it yet though.
  • I wondered about sprinkling about 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the filling before baking. In the original recipe they use goat cheese. That might be a nice possibility, or a nice cheddar.
  • Scallions or green onions might be an interesting substitute for the small onion, and come to think of it a leek might be a great substitution!

Well that's my recipe. If you try it let me know what happens :)


Spiegs said...

I have bought just a turkey breast a couple of times. It's pretty good and would easily be shredded for your tart. However. Bacon is so, so good.

Anonymous said...

I personally appreciated the deviation from mushrooms :) And feel the flavor was MUCH MUCH better sans mushrooms :) The addition of a little cheese on top was nice too :) Jenny :)