Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chicken and Spring Vegetable Tart with Tarragon and Ricotta



A savory tart...that's a new one for me. Since having done the best pie in the universe and seeing that I can still whip out a crust led me to try this, what I imagined would be very much like a pot pie. Not sure this will excite me, yet with so much cheese there's no way it could be bad.

Chicken and Spring Vegetable Tart with Tarragon and Ricotta
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c dry white wine (I used Barefoot chardonnay)
2 sprigs fresh tarragon

FILLING
1/2 c sliced baby carrots
1 tsp salt, divided
1 c whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 c (2 oz.) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 c sugar snap peas (about 4 oz.), thinly sliced diagonally
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 egg whites

Heat oven to 400°F. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12-inch round.


Line 9-inch pie plate with dough; turn edges under; flute.


Line crust with foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans.

I used leftover navy beans from when I made the hambone soup.

Bake 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; remove weights and foil. If crust still looks wet, bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until crust is dry and light golden brown.
 

Sprinkle chicken breasts all over with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Melt butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
 

Add chicken; cook 4 minutes or until light golden brown, turning once.
 

Add wine and tarragon sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
 

Discard tarragon sprigs. Place chicken on plate; cool. Cut into small pieces.
 

Bring about 4 cups water to a boil in large saucepan. Add carrots and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook 1 minute; drain. Rinse with cold water.

I think this would completed just as well and a lot more quickly, with much energy and water waste, in the microwave.

In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, cream, Gruyère cheese and chopped tarragon.
 

Fold in chicken, carrots and peas; stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
 

In medium bowl, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
 
Is that a stiff peak? I guessed it was, but had my doubts since it was achieved in 2 minutes.

Gently fold into cheese and vegetable mixture. Spoon filling into crust.
  

Place on baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F.; bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. (If browning too quickly, cover edges with foil during last 15 minutes.)


Cool on wire rack 15 to 20 minutes to allow filling to set.



The tart came out looking better than I thought it would. Maybe a little bit more browning would've been nice, but overall, I was impressed with the appearance. The filling was enough that it certainly filled the pie shell and, well, my crust fluting looked pretty good too, if I may say so myself.

I allowed a total of 40 minutes for the filling to set before I cut into the tart and everything held together quite well. There was some moisture that "leaked" out when a wedge was cut out, but the crust was flaky, even on the bottom where it could have easily become soggy.

The tart tasted pretty good too. It wasn't something I'd brag about, but was a nice change of pace. The cheese:chicken:vegetable ratio was well done and the tarragon tied everything together well. Really surprising was how filling a slice was, yet it didn't leave me feeling stuffed and tired like I'd eaten a big steak. If you consider having a salad or side, you may get even more than six servings out of this recipe.

Leftovers reheat well in the microwave, but even better in the oven. The microwave doesn't do the crust any justice whatsoever.

Would I do it again? Yeah, I think I would. I'll definitely try other tarts in the future too.

Cost:
  • crust: $1.29
  • chicken breast halves: $0.79
  • butter: $0.09
  • wine: $1
  • tarragon: $0.65
  • baby carrots: $0.50
  • ricotta cheese: $3.29
  • cream: $0.86
  • Gruyere: $1.31
  • snap peas: $1.47
  • eggs: $0.63
Total: $11.88 or $1.98 for each of six servings.


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