Spiced Chicken Tart

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I used to have this thing about “little” cookbooks, like they weren’t worthy unless they were hefty and contained lots of photographs. Fortunately, I learned my lesson, because I have a few favorite little cookbooks now.

The one I’m referring to today is called Savory to Sweet Pies & Tarts, by Janice Murfitt, published in 1993.

Maybe a sign that it’s a significant, albeit little book, is the foreword by Albert Roux, of the famous Roux brothers.

In the foreword, he states that the author “provides new and unusual ways of adding flavor and interest to the basic pastries used, such as adding crushed nuts or citrus zest, and also presents a splendid array of fillings, both comfortingly traditional and classic with an intriguing twist.”

In this case, the tart I’m making appeals to me because of the curry flavors. It could be called a curried chicken quiche in puff pastry.

Spiced Chicken Tart
Slightly adapted

6 ounces frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 pound raw chicken breast, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled, diced, and cooked
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon mango chutney, diced if necessary
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a rectangular tart or round pie pan. Flute the edges and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the pastry shell “blind” until lightly browned at the edges, 10-15 minutes. Lower the oven to 375 degrees.

While the shell is baking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook quickly for 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the spices, chicken, and cooked sweet potato. I browned the chicken first and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken cooks a little more. Then add the cilantro, lime zest, juice, salt, pepper and chutney. Remove from the heat.

Gently place the chicken mixture into the prepared crust. Beat together the cream and eggs and pour into the pastry shell.

Bake until the filling has set, 15-20 Minutes.

Serve hot or cold, garnished with chopped cilantro.

Sour cream would also be a lovely addition.

There’s something so special about this little tart. It’s a perfect combination of ingredients all put together in puff pastry.

 

Mughlai Kabobs

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Yesterday I made a creamy sauce called sas, which is a creamy nut sauce made with pistachios, cashews, and almonds. And today I’m making curried lamb kabobs that go perfectly with the sauce.

From Indian Food Forever, a website devoted to Indian recipes, “Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendour.”

These kabobs are so easy to make – it’s as simple as putting a meat loaf together, and forming elongated meatballs over skewers! If you don’t want to mess with the skewers, just make them meatballs!

Mughlai Kabobs

1 pound of ground lamb, I used a mixture of beef and lamb*
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup ground chick-pea flour, or besan
1/3 cup sliced almonds, pulverized in a blender
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
2 teaspoons salt

In a very large bowl, add all of the ingredients.

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Mix everything together well. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

After time has passed, create the kabobs by forming the dough over the end of your skewers – I’m using bamboo skewers. I didn’t soak them because they really weren’t going to be over direct heat. Try to make the meat cylinders of uniform thickness so they will cook evenly.

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Meanwhile, start up a grill outside. You could also cook the kabobs inside under the broiler, but I used these kabobs as an excuse to try out a Cuisinart indoor-outdoor electric grill that I bought but have never used…. yet.

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So I plugged the “griddler,” as it’s called, outside in the shade. Then I turned the dial to the highest position, which is 400 degrees. Then I put the kabobs on and really, nothing happened. Then I realized that the plug wasn’t pushed in all the way, but after another 15 minutes or so, still nothing was happening.

Then lo and behold, I discovered I was using the dial incorrectly. Inadvertently, when I thought the dial was on 400 degrees, I had turned it to OFF.

I have wasted more time in my life with dials. Especially in hotel bathrooms where I can’t figure out which way to point the shower dial. There’s always a pointy thing, or a lever of sorts, but there’s never a corresponding line to match up with. I wish I could design these things. Although, I might be the only person who has this problem.

And so, I started up the griddler again, this time with the dial actually on 400 degrees. And it actually heated up really fast.
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I cooked the kabobs on three sides, then turned down the temperature to 350 degrees, put the lid on, and finished them for another 15 minutes. I wanted them still a little teeny pink on the inside.

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Then I served them just off the grill, with some of the beautiful creamy nut sauce, and a curried spinach and mushroom side dish. Scrumptious!!!!!

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