In an effort to take a little break from the tradition of only eating Thanksgiving leftovers, Mike and I decided to make these Balsamic Onion Tarts with Goat Cheese and Thyme. They are so easy to throw together and the savory flavors are a nice switch from the sweet.
As you cook the onions with the salt, pepper and thyme, try not to rush the caramelization phase. The slower the process, the better the consistency will be. After adding the balsamic and sugar, the onions become sweeter and the aromas that fill the kitchen are nothing less than magical. The sprinkle of goat cheese on top keeps everything balanced.
I have really enjoyed cooking with my mini tart pans this year. Although a full sized tart pan would work just fine for this recipe, I like the smaller portion size after a week of overeating. You can even cut the six-inch tarts into quarters which make them small enough to be served like little hors d’oeuvres if you’re hosting a dinner party.
Do you ever break tradition around the holidays? Eating something other than leftovers isn’t exactly a big tradition breaker, but Mike and I often talk about doing our own thing sometimes. We talk about traveling somewhere just the two of us or cooking up a seafood feast instead of a turkey. Could you imagine starting off Thanksgiving with a bunch of grilled oysters instead? Mmm… now I’m inspired.
If you could do whatever you wanted over the holidays, what would you do?
BALSAMIC ONION MINI TARTS
2 tablespoons butter
4 white or yellow onions, very finely sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or sprigs of fresh thyme
Note: Save extra thyme sprigs for garnish, if desired.
Two boxes of pre-made pie crusts
1. To prepare filling, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan.
2. Add the onions, salt, pepper and thyme and cook gently for about 30 mins until the onions are soft and transparent but not browned, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for another 30 mins or so until the onions are almost dry.
Note: Don’t rush this stage; the longer and slower the cooking, the better the marmalade will be.
4. Remove the thyme. Set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Roll the pre-made pie crusts and use to line several mini tart pans.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is set.
8. Remove from the oven and spoon the onion mixture into the cooked pastry cases and top with crumbled goat cheese.
9. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake filled tart for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is hot.
10. Garnish with thyme leaves.
All Images © Regan Baroni 2016.