Beef and Red Onion Tarts with Watercress Pesto
PREP TIME: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes chilling time
COOKING TIME: 35-40 minutes
- 375g/12oz lean beef mince
- 1 x 500g pack prepared short crust pastry
- 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 50g/2oz fresh peas
- Salt and freshly milled
- black pepper
- 5 large eggs, beaten
For the Watercress Pesto:
- 75g/3oz watercress leaves, rinsed or left-over mixed green leaves
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 75g/3oz mature grated hard cheese, e.g Cheddar
- 50g/2oz walnut halves, roughly chopped
- 90ml/6tbsp extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
Salad leaves, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6, 200°C/400°F.
- Roll out the pastry to 5mm/¼inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and use to line six to eight 12cm/5inch loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Prick the bases with a fork and chill for 10 minutes.
- Line the tartlet tins with greaseproof paper and a handful of baking beans (or dried pasta shapes). Bake on a shallow baking tray for 10-15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is dry. Set aside to cool on the tray. Reduce the oven temperature to Gas mark 4, 180°C/350°F.
- To prepare the pesto; place all the ingredients except the oil in a blender or food processor and blend together. Slowly add the oil until a paste is formed. Season.
- Heat a large, shallow, non-stick frying pan until hot and dry fry the mince and onion for 5-7 minutes until brown. Season, cool slightly and add the peas and 45ml/3tbsp of the pesto, reserving the remainder. Spoon the beef mixture evenly between the tartlet tins before adding the beaten eggs, taking care not to overfill the tins.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining pesto and salad leaves.