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Comfort food means something different to everyone.  To me, I think of my mom’s pasta, my grandmother’s shrimp scampi, and my uncle’s pies.  But I also recall all of the restaurants I used to frequent in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

To this day, I swear the best pizza I’ve had comes from Pizza by Elizabeth’s – venue of memories for post-sports game meals, girl’s night out with my best friends, family dinners, and even my first date.  One of the best things about their menu is the “build-your-own” that provides a multitude of sauce options.  My favorite has always been the Mushroom Duxelles.

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In search of a little comfort food this week, I tried my hand at a free-form folded tart that deconstructs the flavors of Pizza by Elizabeth’s Mushroom Duxelles Sauce: mushroom, white wine, shallot, and garlic.  This tart is great for sharing.  Don’t let it fool you – aside from the long list of ingredients, its fairly simple.

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Since tarts are a go-to of mine, I keep frozen dough on hand.  I realize this isn’t the norm, so for some good recipes, I recommend Julia Child’s or the Joy of Cooking’s recipes for pastry dough.  The ingredient list is simple: butter, flour, salt, and cold water.  If you want to play around, add some herbs – like rosemary – to your dough.  Here’s a great article that gives some more hints from Julia. 

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Sauce

Because I’m adding a lot more flavor from other ingredients like whole shallots and chicken, this sauce is meant to be a good base.

3 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups minced mushrooms
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup white wine
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Add the minced mushrooms and stir gently under the mushrooms are cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add remaining ingredients and allow most of the wine to evaporate until you have a thick sauce.  Stir occasionally.  Set aside.

Tart

1 cup white wine
1 chicken breast, sliced thinly in half
3 shallots, peeled and halved
3 tbsp fresh rosemary
4 tbsp shredded gruyere, more if desired 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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In a shallow pan, poach chicken breast in white wine. If you’ve never poached chicken before, its much easier than it sounds.  Pour the white wine into the pan.  You may need more than the recipe calls for depending on the size of the pan.  You simply need to ensure that the chicken is covered ever so slightly when submerged.  Heat the wine slowly until bubbles begin to form but do not break the surface of the wine.  At that point, place the chicken gently in the pan.  Let it cook until finished – about 8 minutes.

Once you’ve cooked the chicken, remove it from the wine and shred the chicken into small pieces.  Set aside until you are ready to assemble the tart.

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Roll dough out on a well-floured flat surface.  Spread mushroom sauce generously, leaving an inch of exposed dough around the edges.

Sprinkle shredded chicken on top of the dough and top with gruyere and rosemary.   Then, fold the exposed edges of the dough over on itself to “close” the tart.

Finally, place the halved shallots on the tart after spreading them open.  If you prefer a more caramelized flavor, cook them briefly open half down in a pan over low heat.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the dough is golden.

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