Personally I love this, and probably could eat it a couple, three, five times a week. But Mom only made it once in a while and it was a special occasion kind of dish.
The original recipe calls for white asparagus, but my mom made it with mushrooms, so that's the way I do it as well. However, she also added Asparagus from time to time as well. So, it's up to you. Gee you could also go wild and add both to it, trust me it tastes wonderful. And I know this, cause I just did it.
And I use a couple of shortcuts as well. You can do it this way as well, or make your own sauce.
Puff Pastry Sheets (I'm using the frozen stuff for this recipe)
Too basic? I know, but since I already know how to make it, I don't need more than that. But if you like, I'll share the step by step and the actual recipe follows at the end.
To start with, cook your chicken breasts til they are tender. Believe it or not a half hour in the pot with some carrots, onions, or leeks and celery to flavour the stock, and just let them simmer. When the chicken is tender, take them out and chop them up. Then strain the stock, and reserve a couple of cups for the sauce and freeze the rest, you just got a good base for home made soup. (nothing like a multi purpose dish). You can also use a whole chicken, cooked and cut up for this, or even a rotisserie chicken. I've done it all the ways.
Now for the fun part, the tarts. I outsmarted myself this time. I thought, ooh, I can make teeny little bites using the pastry and baking them in my mini tart pans. Well, let me just show you what happened.
After baking. Kinda hard to fill those up. (although I did cut them in half later on, and use the top and bottom to put filling in, hey, life hands you lemons, make lemonade or in this case, tart shells).
So then I went a more labor intensive route. But the end result, well worth it.
You have to kind of noodge the rounds together. Oh you do need to brush the bottom round with a lightly beaten egg, it helps it to stick together. I did take out the center cut, and baked them separately.
As you can see, these worked. I even took more out of the center with a sharp paring knife, cutting very carefully around and prying out that center bit. Made more room for the filling. Very important that, the ratio of filling to tart.
These had the chicken, mushroom and asparagus mixture (and the picture is fuzzy, bad picture taking night I guess)
These were the vegetarian ones. I did the whole kit and caboodle on these. Made some veggie stock from scratch, simmered a mixture of vegetable stock and cream together and then thickened them with a roux, and added the mushrooms and asparagus.
And just to let you know, you can buy the Puff Pastry tart shells already made, just bake them off in a hot oven, 400 degrees, for about 18 minutes or until browned, pull out the little cap, and then place them back in the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking. While they are baking, heat up a can or two of Cream of Mushroom soup, add a cup or two of cooked chopped chicken, and some sauteed mushrooms or even a can or two of mushrooms. Heat together and spoon into the baked pastry shells. Now, how easy is that? hmmm, and to think I played in the kitchen with the tart shells, and chicken mixture for over an hour, sigh. But it was good and worth it.
There were a few leftovers, but I'm enjoying them for lunch this week. Like I said before, I could eat this two, three, five times a week.
Chicken, Mushroom and Asparagus filling for Tartelletter
- 1 package Puff Pastry, cut into rounds, and made into patty shells or 1 package Puff Pastry Shells or Puff Pastry Cups
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup Half and Half
- 8 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 chicken broth or
- 1/4 cup flour or cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons butter and stirred together as a roux
- 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
- 1 can chopped asparagus, drained
- 1 egg, whisked together with 1 tablespoon water
- Bake the Puff Pastry shells and set aside. If making own shells from the puff pastry sheets, the instructions follow in the next section.
- Place the 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions and mushrooms together until the onion is sweated out and the mushrooms have cooked through. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Do not brown. Set aside for a minute.
- Heat the stock til almost boiling in a pot, then add the half and half.
- Next add the thickening agent, either the cornstarch/chicken stock slurry or the butter/flour roux. Whisk together and let cook for 1 minute to get the raw taste out. This should have the consistency of a white sauce. Add the mushrooms, onions and chicken and onions and let simmer for a minute or two over low heat. At this point you can add a can of drained asparagus,folding it into the mixture very gently.
- Thaw the puff pastry sheets in the fridge overnight. Take out one sheet of pastry at a time to work with. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. I cut each sheet into thirds.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out lightly. These instructions are for each third piece of pastry.
- Take a small round biscuit cutter and cut out rounds. Cut the center out of half of them using a smaller round cutter. I use my doughnut hole cutter for this. Brush the whole piece of pastry with the egg mixture, and then place the piece with the center cut out on top. Bake in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned. See the pictures for the how to.