Danish Chicken & Asparagus Tarts (Tarteletter)

These Danish tarteletter (tarts) are an old traditional food served in Denmark, particularly around Christmas or when you’re just craving some particularly Danish food!

These hardy tarts are a good meal to whip up when it’s cold and clammy out and you want a hygge dish to warm you up. The best part? You can make it from common ingredients in your kitchen!

Chicken & Asparagus Tarts (Tarteletter med høns i asparges)


Serves 6


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 3 breasts, depending
on size)
1 pound green asparagus, trimmed*
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve

6 puff pastry shells (vol-au-vent cases, homemade or store-bought, baked)

Cook’s note*

Traditionally, Danes substitute white asparagus, in season.


For the filling

Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 6 cups of cold water in a Dutch oven. Submerge chicken in water. Heat pot over medium heat until water registers 170°F. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let stand until chicken registers 165°F, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Transfer chicken to paper towel-lined tray and refrigerate until chicken is cool enough to handle, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and dice or shred into ½-inch pieces.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in medium saucepan. Cook the trimmed asparagus in the boiling stock for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Remove the asparagus from the stock. Cover the stock and keep warm over low heat.

Chop off the tips of the asparagus and reserve to garnish your tarts. Chop the spears into small rounds and set aside to add to the filling.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the shallot in butter until it is lightly golden. Stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly, then whisk in the stock in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes stirring regularly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

Stir in the asparagus rounds and the chicken. Heat gently until warmed through.

To serve

Spoon into pastry shells. Garnish with the asparagus tips.

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