Santa Claus decrees that all vegetarians should be catered for this Christmas!

If you’re in need of a vegetarian recipe for a family member or guest at Christmas, then why not kick start with a sumptuous tartlet? With subtle tastes of winter herbs and woodland flavours bringing the outside in, your guests (vegetarian and otherwise) will be queuing up for this recipe.

Catering for a vegetarian can be difficult during Christmas, but I promise this mouth-watering recipe will create a show-stopping veggie meal for the festive season.

Let those who opt out of meat reclaim Christmas Day with a feast to remember!

Serves 3
Shopping List:

For the tartlets:

1 ready-made puff pastry roll
1 egg yolk, mixed with a splash of milk
4-5 heaped tablespoons caramelised onion jam (pre-made, see method below)
180g good-quality herb coated goat’s cheese, cut into 1.5cm thick rounds
½ a medium sized courgette (100g), finely sliced (either using a mandolin or sharp knife)
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar

For the French Onion Marmalade:

500g French onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt flakes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1.5 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 shot (40ml) red wine
For the courgette dressing:
1½ tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon red chilli flakes ½ teaspoon runny honey

Method:

For the French onion marmalade:

Place the finely sliced onions into a large, deep heavy-bottomed saucepan and drizzle with the olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir the onions ensuring to coat the onions thoroughly in the oil. Next season with a generous pinch of sea salt.

Sweat the onions over a medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes until softened and opaque. Reduce the heat to a low temperature and continue to cook the onions for a further 30 minutes, stirring frequently scraping any sticky bits of onion from the bottom of the pan.

Next, add the 2 tablespoons of vinegar, sugar and wine, stirring well to coat all the onions. Continue to cook over a low heat for a further 30-45 minutes, scraping any of the sticky bits of onion from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the marmalade mixture to ensure the mixture doesn’t become too sticky and cook for a further 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Note: The consistency of the onion marmalade should be lusciously thick.
Once the onion marmalade is cooled, pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to one week

To make the courgette dressing:

In a medium sized bowl, place the chilli flakes and honey inside. Using a hand whisk, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl and whisk gently to combine into a thick dressing.

Once the dressing is made, mix in the sliced courgettes, being careful to coat well, and set aside to ensure the dressing infuses through the courgettes.

To make the tartlets:

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/ 400˚F/ Gas mark 6.

Using a small bowl as a guide or a 12-14cm pastry cutter, cut out four round pastry bases and place on a large baking sheet. Using the end of a teaspoon score a 2-3cm border around the edges of the pastry bases (you must ensure not to cut through the pastry). Using a fork, prick only the bases. Lightly brush the borders with the egg yolk wash.

Avoiding the border, evenly place the marinated courgettes at the bottom of the base. Next spoon 1 tablespoon of the caramelised onion marmalade on top of the courgettes, spreading evenly. Place a round slice of herb coated goat’s cheese in the centre of the onion marmalade and finally scatter with a few thyme leaves and season with pepper.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the pastry borders are well risen and crispy golden. Once slightly cooled, serve the tartlets with your roast dinner spread.

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