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Rocking the Leftovers: Onion Tarts - Backyard Grocery

Rocking the Leftovers: Onion Tarts

onion tarts

Savory with just a little sweet...the onion tarts are the perfect appetizer.

For my Dark Days Challenge meal this past week, I made a Root Beer Glaze for a Venison Roast and made a meal of sandwiches and homemade potato chips. As often happens with roasts, I ended up with a lot of left overs. Not only did I have plenty of meat left, I had the wonderful root beer flavored au jus. I COULD NOT let that go to waste.

As they sat in my refrigerator waiting for my inspiration, I started thinking about what I wanted to bring to the Shaw’s for New Year’s Eve. For some reason, onion tarts popped into my head. Maybe I saw a bag of onions somewhere, or maybe someone uttered the word Tart in my presence. I don’t know. I just know that I became obsessed with the idea of cooking down a couple of onions in that root beer au jus. I knew it would be beautiful.

So off I went to Mom’s Organic Market (I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately). I got my onions (not local, but organic). Then I scoured the store trying to find a local cheese for stuffing the tarts and some sort of local pie crust. I was semi-successful. All of the local cheeses were either hard cheese that wouldn’t work for what I wanted, or goat cheese which I HATE. So I ended up with Fromage Blanc from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, Websterville, VT (556 miles). I learned later that it’s not really cheese; it’s the French answer to yogurt. But that’s okay because it added the tart to my tarts. The organic spelt pie shell from Wholly Wholesome, Chester, NJ (242 miles) were closer to local, and also organic. I considered the shopping trip a win.

The verdict. Wow. The root beer flavor adds zest to the tarts, but isn’t overpowering. The fromage blanc balanced the meat, and the onions…well, they’re caramelized onions. Do I need to say more? The best part is these were so insanely easy to make that I will be doing it again. I just can’t get enough of caramelized onions!

A note about the pictures—they’re a little random. A friend came over while I was making the test batch and we may have been chatting and drinking bubbly rather than thinking about the impending blog post. So, sorry. Happy New Year. I’m off to the Shaw’s now with a batch of these tarts and a batch of Venison and Dill Bacon Bites.

onion tarts

These are so good, they're worthy of a second picture.

Recipe: Root Beer Onion Tarts with Venison

Summary: Possibly the most perfect appetizer ever.


  • Root Beer Glaze (or leftover au jus from braising root beer roast)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • Spelt pie shells (1 crust per 12 tarts)
  • 4 oz Fromage Blanc (or thick Greek yogurt or cream cheese)
  • 4 oz root beer braised venison, chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp salt

caramelizing onions

  1. Bring the glaze to a simmer in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Slice the onions thinly. Put the onion in the sauce pan and simmer until the onions are cooked down and the glaze has reduced completely (about 1/2 hour).
  3. Add the butter to the saucepan and continue cooking until onions are golden brown. Remove from heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°.
    making the pie crusts
  5. Remove a pre-made pie crust from the pan and lay out on a cutting board. Use a cookie cutter or a small can to cut out 2-inch rounds.
  6. Place the dough in a mini muffin cup, pressing down and molding to make it fit perfectly. Repeat for all 12 cups in pan. (For the last four, you’ll need to roll out the dough. I just rolled it with my can and then formed it into place in the muffin pan.)
  7. Pierce the bottoms of the tarts with a fork and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and set aside.
    making the tarts
  9. In a bowl, combine the fromage blanc, venison, and salt. Mix well. If you’re using a thicker cheese, like cream cheese, you may have to pull out your hand mixer to get it smooth and creamy enough. No worries…it will be worth the effort!
  10. Fill each tart with the cheese mixture, then top with a teaspoon of onions.
  11. Put back in the oven to warm a bit, or serve room temperature…they’re fantastic both ways. Gently slide a fork down the side and slide each tart out of the muffin tin. In a non-stick pan, they come out easily. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, spray the pan with spray before putting the crusts in it.


While the root beer adds a lovely sweet/tart flavor, these would be great with regular caramelized onions and a finely chopped roast.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © Susan Rose.

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