Whilst printing my recipe draft for this dish I noted that my little printer sounds a lot like a clucking hen, one of those things that you can't unhear. I cluck like a chicken every time it prints now.
Chickens have been the theme of the house this week. We almost but not quite had our very own chick in our south London and very surburban house after my niece came back from my parents house last weekend with an egg that she wanted to hatch. She lovingly kept it warm with hot water bottles and checked it over every five minutes. The chances of a viable egg surviving without a proper incubator were slim but me and my sister exchanged glances the whole week, it's not going to hatch is it?
It didn't. My sister sat on it. Thankfully the accident happened after she conducted a candling test to confirm it was not with chick and took photographic evidence of said test.
From trying to hatch chickens to eating them. This Danish recipe goes hand in hand with our Danish soup hønsekødssuppe, the Danish make them both together and so did we. I used the chicken and some of the extra broth from the soup to make my tarts, but if you don't want the soup as well you could always use a stock cube to make a chicken stock and either poach a chicken with an onion and herbs in water for about an hour or buy ready cooked. Equally if you don't want to make your own pastry, it is not unheard of for the Danes to buy readymade cases and you can easily do the same.
- 200g plain flour
- 50g wholegrain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 110g butter, chilled and coarsely grated
- Appx 5 tbsp ice cold water
- 250g asparagus
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot finely diced
- Pinch nutmeg
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml chicken stock
- 400g poached chicken chopped roughly
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Watercress and red onion
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 440
- Fat | 21.4
Makes | 6
Prep Time | 20 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling
Cooking Time | 25 minutes
- Stir together the flours and salt and rub in the butter with your fingertips until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Work as quickly as you can to avoid overheating the dough. Refrigerate for ten minutes.
- Stir in the water a tablespoon at a time until you have a pliable dough. You may need slightly more, you may need slightly less than stipulated in the ingredients. Cover with clingfilm/saran wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 175°c.
- Roll out to thickness of about 3mm and line six mini 12cm diametre tart tins, you may need to roll out some of the offcuts to get the full six.
- Prick the pastry with a fork, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (or regular dried beans).
- Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the baking eans. Return to the oven for a further five minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on a cooling rack before unmoulding.
- Bend the asparagus until it snaps and discard the woody ends. Cook in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender.
- Chop off the heads and reserve to garnish your tartlets. Chop the rest into little roundels and set aside to add to the filling.
- Sauté the shallot in the butter in a large pan until lightly golden.
- Remove temporarily from the heat, stir in the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and finally the stock in a slow stream stirring as you go. Return to the heat and cook on medium for about five minutes stirring regularly until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the asparagus roundels and the chicken. Heat gently until warmed through and then spoon into your tartlet cases.
- Garnish with the asparagus heads, watercress and thinly sliced red onion.