Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Tart with Polenta Crust

Matt is on a business trip right now & usually when that happens I go to the local gourmet grocery store & buy myself a prepared dinner. This time though, I had all these vegetables on hand from the farm which really inspired me to make myself something special instead.
Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Tart with Polenta Crust
When we got the beets in this last CSA box I knew I wanted to do something more than just roast them & put them on a salad (as much as I love that) so I decided to experiment with a roasted beet tart. I choose goat cheese to go with it because I thought the tartness of it would be a nice foil to the sweetness of the roasted beets.

The idea to do a polenta crust came from Allen at Eating Out Loud in a post he wrote about experimenting with healthier ways to make crust. It really intrigued me & since I had a box of instant polenta in the house I figured this was as good a time as any to try it. All & all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. It held its shape well when I removed it from the tart pan as well as holding the filling in. The top edges became a little crisp while cooking which I liked for texture. The rest of the crust stayed pretty soft & almost melted together with the filling when you ate it. Its not the same as a pastry crust but definitely a tasty option.

I ate two of these small tarts for dinner served with a salad. It was a perfect light meal. These turned out so pretty that I think they would also make a beautiful first course for a fancy dinner party.

Roast Beet & Goat Cheese Tart with Polenta Crust

4 small beets, peeled & sliced about 1/8-inch thick (I had golden beets but I think red would be really pretty too)
1 medium onion, sliced thin (I used a Spanish Sweet "Candy" Onion but any will do)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced thin
olive oil
kosher salt
4 oz instant polenta
2 c chicken broth (you can also use water or vegetable broth is you prefer)
1 large egg
1/4 c cream
1 T fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper
2 t goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Make a small tray with sides big enough to hold the sliced beets, onions & garlic from a doubled piece of tin foil.
Roasting beets, onions & garlic
Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil & sprinkle with a little salt. Stir to coat the vegetables. Place the tray on a cookie sheet & into the oven. Allow to roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until the vegetables are turning brown & soft, you want to make sure they are getting caramelized & sweet.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a little salt. Slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce heat to low & continue to stir for about 5 minutes until any lumps are gone & you have a very thick consistency. Remove the polenta from the heat & allow it to cool. Using olive oil, grease four 4.5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms, make sure to get in all the corners so your tart doesn't stick. Once the polenta is cool enough to touch divide it into the tart pans pressing it into the sides & bottoms to form a 1/4-inch crust, you may have a little extra polenta. If you find the polenta a little sticky to work with wet your fingers.
Polenta Crust
When the vegetables are done set them aside & reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet & into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg & cream together. Stir in the parsley, a pinch of salt & a few grinds of pepper.

After the crust have bakes for 10 minutes take them out of the oven. Divide the roasted beets, onions & garlic between the four tarts. Spoon the egg & cream mixture over the vegetables, use the back of your spoon to help press it in very gently. Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the tarts.
Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Tart with Polenta Crust
Return to the oven & bake for 15 - 20 minutes. The filling should be set & slightly puffed up. The goat cheese & edges of the tart should be beginning to brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the tart pan.
Make 4 small tarts.
(A few weeks later I made this into a large tart to serve 4 -5 plus I added bacon, here's the details.)

This is my savory (as opposed to sweet) entry for the new food event over at What's Cooking.
Ben is hosting a bi-weekly event for people who love to bake with prizes for both sweet & savory entries. The first deadline is August 7th so preheat those ovens & join the fun.


Deborah said...

Those are beautiful! I saw someone else do Allen's polenta crust and I've been intrigued ever since!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...this looks really tasty! The golden beets look lovely.

Jen said...

They look gorgeous and now I hope that we gets beets from our CSA too!

Neen said...

Wow, that's really impressive for cooking alone. I usually eat ramen or something, which always surprises me given how much I enjoy cooking when other people are around. Really interesting dinner, both the filling and the crust. You'd should make it again when Matt comes home!

kat said...

Thanks everyone I really enjoyed making this one.

Neen - Matt has already requested it for this weekend.

Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

I absolutely cannot stand beets. I had some golden beets I was holding onto because I wanted to desperately find a recipe for which I would able enjoy the beets. I wish I had searched long and hard enough to make tarts like these. I was given a recipe for a golden beet labneh tart by Jenn. I ended up using the beets in a pasta last night. But I won't be going out getting beets to try this. If someone gives me some, then yes. But let it be known that this is on my To Try List.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Ooh, this looks good! I've been seeing the polenta crust and wanting to try it. The beet and goat cheese combo sound yummy. I'm not big on beets, but maybe with goat cheese. . .

Thistlemoon said...

Those look fantastic! What a nice way to treat yourself!

Allen said...

Roasted beets sound sooooo good and the tarts look delicious!

I still want to try flavoring the polenta with herbs but haven't gotten around to it yet. I bet using polenta in a small tart intensifies the polenta taste since there is a larger ratio of it to the filling. I wish I had small tart pans like yours :-)

Also, a great tip about wetting hands when working with the polenta. Nicely done!

MrOrph said...

Ooooooh! Those look good!

Um, might I suggest another ingredient? BACON!!! Crispy, crispy, bacon crumbled on top.

Now I'm in! :-)

kat said...

Allen - I love all my small baking pans, they have certainly made baking for two easier.

Mrorph - you know how I love bacon....

Tara the Foodie said...

Now this is something I would totally choose to make myself. They sound so delicious and they have such a classy look. Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm deliciouso!

Anonymous said...

I am the one who made Allen's polenta crust too! It turned out really well and as you say, it was very soft and melting.

Dee said...

Polenta crust! What a brilliant idea :)

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