Chicken and Mushroom Crepes

The Christmas shops are set up along the Champs-Elysees in Paris and the street is crowded with shoppers and visitors both day and night.  Along with the upscale icons, such as Cartier, Guerlain, and Louis Vuitton, the street is teaming with food vendors.  There is almost anything your heart (and appetite) might desire.  Roasted chestnuts, sandwiches of all shapes and sizes, and, of course, crepes, seem to be the most popular choices.  At the crepe stands you can watch as the batter is spread over a hot griddle and cooked to perfection in a matter of minutes.  The choice of fillings includes both savory and sweet, with Nutella a perennial favorite.  I’m channeling my Paris experience with these savory chicken and mushroom crepes; I imagine myself sitting in the little neighborhood bistro enjoying a dish like this, with a glass of wine, for lunch or dinner.  Crepes are easy to make and infinitely adaptable.  Sweet crepes make luscious desserts, filled with fruit, cream, or jam.  Savory crepes can make ordinary leftovers seen downright elegant.  All you need are some basic ingredients and a little imagination.  I use a basic ratio of ingredients for the crepe batter.  Add sugar and/or citrus juice and zest for sweet crepes; salt and freshly chopped soft herbs for savory versions.  I poached the chicken for this recipe, but I think leftover cooked chicken would work just as well.  Substitute seafood for the chicken if you prefer, omit the cheese from the sauce and spike it instead with a little white wine or brandy.  I added snipped chives to the crepe batter, but parsley would be a good choice as well.  Tarragon is a common herb in French cuisine and a good flavor pal for chicken and mushrooms, but again, use what you like and is readily available to you.  Crepes can be made a day ahead and placed on a sheet pan, separated by parchment paper and wrapped tightly.  Store in the refrigerator until needed or freeze for future use.  When you’re ready to serve, heat the crepes quickly in the microwave, arrange on warm plates and top with the hot filling.  Roll the crepes or form them into cornet shapes.  A little salad of sharply dressed greens makes a good garnish.  Now pour that wine and enjoy a very proper Paris-inspired lunch.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
(makes 4 to 6 servings)
Crepe Batter
8 ounces whole milk
4 eggs
4 ounces (1 scant cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives
Chicken and Mushroom Filling
10 to 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces small button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 a small lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves  (or 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley)
1 recipe of Mornay sauce * (see below)
To make the batter, place all the ingredients, except the chives, in a blender container and mix until smooth.  Stir in the chives and allow to rest for 30 minutes.  This amount of batter will make twelve 6-inch crepes or six 9 to 10-inch crepes.  Heat a non-stick pan and brush it with a little butter or oil.  Ladle in a small amount of batter and swirl around to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer.  Cook until light golden brown, then flip, and cook the opposite site briefly.  Transfer to a rack to cool and continue until all the batter is used.  The cooled crepes can be stored on a baking sheet, separated by parchment paper, wrapped with plastic film, and refrigerated, a day ahead  of time.  To make the filling, place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat, set the lid ajar on the pan and poach gently for about 10 minutes or until just done.  Allow the chicken to cool in the liquid.  Melt the butter in a small skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the chopped herbs.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Cut the chicken breasts into thick strips and mix with the mushrooms.  Add the mixture to the hot Mornay sauce, stir and adjust the seasonings.  Heat the crepes (the microwave works well) and set two or three on each warmed serving plate.  Divide the filling amongst the crepes and roll them or form them into cornet shapes as in my photo.  Serve immediately, with a tart green salad on the side.
*Mornay Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 egg yolks
3 ounces Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, finely grated
In a medium, heavy sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk together.  Cook until a film forms on the bottom of the pan.  Whisk in the milk, gradually, and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming.  Simmer over low heat until there is no longer any trace of raw flour taste in the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks to just blend.  Stir in a 1/4 cup or so of the hot sauce and whisk together to temper the yolks.  Scrape the yolk mixture back into the sauce.  Add the grated cheese and stir gently to combine.  Use immediately for the chicken and mushroom filling.
( adapted from “Eggs” by Michel Roux)




Leave a Comment