Chicken and asparagus tartlets is a classic Danish dish eaten for more than 100 years. The shells of puff pastry are filled with cooked chicken, fresh asparagus and a Bechamel sauce with dill. A delicious Spring dish, mainly eaten as a starter or as a dish between a starter and a main course.
Originally you would serve a chicken soup for starters – a clear soup with vegetables, meatballs and dumplings – and then use the cooked chicken meat for the tartlets, but today most people leave out the chicken soup. Even though the dish in known all over Denmark, it is mostly eaten in Jutland and on the smaller islands.
Most Danes consider chicken and asparagus tartlets grandmother-food: The kind of food your grandmother would make, and you would love to eat, but it came out of fashion in the 90’s. Luckily, we are still quite a few who remember the delicious dish and it has had a revival over the past five years.
I only eat chicken and asparagus tartlets in the Spring, when I can get hold of fresh asparagus but don’t be ashamed to use canned asparagus. This is what many grandmothers would use and many people today still do.
Use leftover chicken or cook two or three chicken breasts in water with a small carrot, onion or leak, salt and 5 peppercorns for about 30 minutes or until tender. The trick is to simmer gently and then let the chicken cool in the stock. This way the meat remains moist.
In Denmark we are able to buy puff pastry tartlets in supermarkets and at bakeries. If you cannot get a hold of tartlets, make your own shells out of puff pastry or another kind of pastry with no sugar.
The word tartlet means small tart and has its origin in France.