(I’ve been a tad obsessed with vintage cookbooks lately – especially those from the fifties and sixties, with their overuse of food colouring and vivid food photos. Although there are no frankfurters or gellies here, don’t you think this photo could be circa 1963?)
I was on the road for a chunk of last week, talking on TV about local cheese and the myriad of ways it makes people happy during the holidays. Cheese is generally the focal point when people gather at our house at this time of year – almost always melty, and in enormous quantities. I tend to fall back on the usuals – goat cheese with warmed herby, garlicky olive oil, a skillet fondue, baked brie with maple-pecan praline and the omnipresent homemade Raincoast crisps – but among the recipes we made was a butter chicken tart, smothered in Gouda. That’s right.
I can’t take full credit for these – the recipe was developed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada (they put together 30 holiday recipes, divided into 5 party menus, from casual to fancy), and the food stylist brought them to the set premade along with ingredients to start from the beginning. After we finished taping, she let me bring the assembled tarts home to bake for a Christmas party last night – let me tell you people become very excited when presented with a platter of warm tarts filled with butter tart filling and topped with golden, bubbling cheese.
Gouda Butter Chicken Tarts
15 homemade or store-bought tart shells
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup 35% cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 cup grated Canadian Gouda, divided
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place tart shells on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken with the onions, garlic and curry powder for 4–5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and half the cheese. Divide among tart shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 10–15 minutes, or long enough to melt the cheese. Makes about 15 tarts.