The Food Groupie Club

Hi my name is Sarah and I'm addicted to food. I have been a chef professionally for about 12 years now and am currently teaching cooking classes at a culinary school. I seriously love to cook and eat good food. The problem with cooking and eating like the professionals though is that it can be kind of intimidating for a home food enthusiast. My goal is to bring good food into every-day homes. Anyone can make healthy, good quality, good tasting, and good looking food with the right know-how. So here you made easy by a professional!

I will be featuring some of my favorite chef's recipes in my posts and will note in the post what book was used. Their books that I use will be listed in my must have cookbooks tab.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crepes With Chicken & Morels

Thomas Keller Bouchon Cookbook Pages 198 & 199
Serves 4, 2 crepes each

This past week was a crazy week for me, so I was only able to get one recipe made, and I had to pick an easy and fast one to boot. But I did do 3 recipes the week prior, so technically I am right on schedule of 2 recipes per week. I think this works out though. Who doesn't like quick and easy? I chose to do savory crepes for a lot of reasons. Most people don't think dinner time when they think of crepes. Its usually associated with cheese filling with fruit for dessert. Crepes are cool because the fillings you can choose for them are limitless. The batter will be a little different for dessert vs. savory but technique is the same. Crepes are just unleavened, thin French pancakes. Unleavened just means there's nothing in it that will make it rise like yeast or baking soda or powder. Once filled, they can be shaped several ways. You can just do a 4 fold (fold in 1/2 then 1/2 again) so you end up with a triangle shape, or you can just fold in 1/2 once like a flat taco, or rolled to make a cylinder. I think the 4 fold looks best. The folding method used here is one I haven't seen before.  You just fold the 4 sides toward the center which leaves a little of the filling exposed so you can see it. I kind of like this method.

I think from start to finish this only took like 1 1/2 hours. I know its no 30 minute meal, but for a fancy meal,    1 1/2 hours is nothing.  Plus, anything that you-know-who (eeeeewwww) makes in 30 minutes is usually nasty and looks like garbage in a saute pan. Anyways..... here we go!

Step 1: Make the crepe batter

1 c. All purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. Fresh Ground pepper
4 Eggs
3/4 c. Milk
3/4 c. Heavy cream
3 Tbs. Unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs. Miced chives

The batter needs to be made first because it needs time to rest before using it, at least 30 minutes, no longer then a day. If you let it sit longer then that it will separate and get kind of weird.
All you do is combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and just pour in your eggs, milk, and cream and whisk until smooth. Do not add the butter yet. It should be about the consistency of buttermilk. Remember, these are not pancakes, the batter does not need to be that thick. {see picture 1} It needs to be pourable without being watery.
After the batter has rested, you need to strain it because it will be kind of lumpy. {see picture 2 & 3} Picture 3 really shows why it needs to be strained. I have a chinois (pronounced shin-wah), which I totally could not live without. If you like making sauces, this is a must have. However they are really expensive {about $100. Thanks mom for the best b-day present ever!!}. The mesh is ridiculously fine on this so it gets every single lump out and makes the sauce super smooth. If you don't have a birthday coming up or just don't want to make this kind of splurge.... its ok to use one of those regular hand strainers.  It just won't be as pretty as what a chinois can do. Now you can whisk in your melted butter and chopped chives. Speaking of butter..... please only buy unsalted. Regular butter has salt already added because home cooks don't salt things. If a recipe calls for unsalted you must use unsalted. If you don't have it, just reduce or eliminate the salt called for in the recipe.

Step 2: Make the sauce & filling
You should make this while your batter is resting to speed things along.

1/2 recipe of Mornay sauce {see recipe below}
2 c. Cooked chicken*
2 Tbs. Mined tarragon
Heavy cream as needed for thinning
4 Tbs. Unsalted butter
5 ounces {about 3 c.} morels or other mushrooms
12 oz. shelled beans {recipe called for fava, had to sub though. I used edemame, but you can use lima also. Also, I got stuck using frozen. couldn't find any fresh}

*You need 2 c. of shredded cooked chicken for the filling. If you have leftover chicken from a whole roasting chicken you can use that, otherwise, you need to cook some chicken. I just used 2 medium sized chicken breasts and drizzled them with olive oil, chopped herbs (whatever you have), and salt and pepper. Just bake in the oven at 350 degrees until they are cooked though. Let them cool slightly then chop it up! They don't need to be chopped perfectly, they're just getting mixed into a sauce.

This recipe uses a Mornay sauce, which is just a roux (pronounced roo) thickened cheese sauce. What's a roux you ask?  Its equal parts fat and flour used to thicken things. You've probably made one a million times without realizing it. 

Mornay Sauce (Bouchon Cookbook pg. 316)

3 Tbs. Unsalted butter
1/2 c. White or yellow onion, small dice
3 Tbs. All purpose flour
2 c. Milk
1 c. Heavy cream
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
1/3 c. Grated emmentaler cheese
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

{I only made 1/2 a recipe of this for the crepes and it was plenty}

Melt the butter in a sauce pot over moderate heat. Add onion and saute until just softened and translucent. Add the flour all at once and let it cook for about a minute while stirring constantly.  Slowly stir in the milk and cream. Then add the spices. Let simmer on low heat until thick, but will still pour from a spoon like pictured below. {This took about 20 minutes} Strain, then stir in the cheese over low heat so it melts and season to taste with salt and pepper. BTW.... you may not know what Emmentaler cheese is. It just a type of swiss cheese, but its a little firmer than regular sandwich swiss, and its flavor is more developed. I found mine at Trader Joe's for $4.80 for an 8 oz block, which is plenty o' cheese for this recipe.

Finish the sauce by adding the chopped chicken and herbs and ta da.... its done.  The recipe calls for tarragon. I do not have any growing in my garden. I went to two stores looking for it and no one had it. Sad, sad, sad.  So I just chopped up some chives and basil that I do have growing in my yard and used that instead.  Tarragon would have been better, but oh well, work with what you got.

The filling:
Lets talk mushrooms! This is supposed to have morel mushrooms, which is a wild mushroom. They are hard to find unless you plan ahead and maybe try a farmer's market or go to whole paycheck {whole foods}. I don't live close to whole paycheck so I didn't even bother trying there. You can find these dried, however I personally don't like the texture of re-hydrated mushrooms. If you use dried, you just need to soak them in boiling hot water until soft. I chose to use crimini {which are not wild mushrooms at all, they are actually baby portobello mushrooms} They are readily available and delish, so there you go. Just quarter them so you have nice chunks in your crepes. Mushrooms are also mostly water, so initially it will look like you have a ton, but they shrink considerably during cooking.
Melt the butter in a saute pan then add the mushrooms. Turn the heat up to moderate high, you should hear a nice sizzle. This sound is the water from the mushrooms hitting the pan and evaporating. I have the different cooking stages pictured below. You want to cook them until they are golden brown and you have developed a nice fond {the yummy brown goodness that forms in the pan when you saute things}. The fond will ultimately give your sauce a richer flavor. Picture 3 is how they will look when ready. Then you deglaze the pan with the brandy. {I used sherry wine because I didn't have any brandy}Deglaze is just fancy for pour the brandy into the pan and stir it while it hisses at you and soaks up all the fond. {picture 4}
Once the brandy has almost evaporated, add your beans and saute everything together until the beans are tender. This should only take a couple minutes and will look like the picture below.

Step 3: Its crepe time!!

If you have a crepe pan, it makes it a little easier. However, with enough practice you can do it in a regular saute pan. I have a crepe pan of course, non stick, works great. If you are interested in eating more crepes, I would go ahead and just pick of a pan somewhere. The key here is you have to keep the batter moving by moving the pan in a circular motion to make the round shape. If you are too slow here it will start cooking and you will have a wad of cooked batter in the center of your pan.  And don't use too much batter, if they are too thick they are no good. I ended up using slightly more than 1/8 of a cup of batter per crepe.  Hopefully you can figure out what I'm doing in these pictures, this was really hard to get shots of.

You want to get the pan hot, about moderate high heat. Not on super high though because you don't want them to cook too fast or get a lot of color.  Lightly spray the pan with PAM pan spray for each crepe.  Angle the pan slightly forward and start pouring the batter from a measuring cup and rotate the pan in a circular motion so it swirls to cover the entire pan. These cook fast so you have to move faster. Warning: your first few will suck big time.  OK, your first whole lot of them will suck big time. Stick it out though and keep trying. You will get it eventually and will feel like you conquered the world when you do, or at least like you showed those crepes who's boss.  You have plenty of batter, I promise. It's ok to have some flubs.
Once you've made a nice circle you'll notice the edges will start to harden. Using a spatula, lift up the crepe from any point and give it a flip.  Let it cook for about 10 more seconds then remove the crepe from the pan. It should just slide right out onto a plate. You may need to coax it with your spatula, but it should come out pretty easy.  {look, even mine aren't perfect so don't worry if you's aren't too}

Step 4: Let's put it all together!

Finally the home stretch! Lets fill those crepes and eat. Warm your crepe pan on moderate-low heat and place a crepe in the pan. Sprinkle with a little of the emmentaler cheese and let it sit until it starts to melt.{picture 1} Once it melts, move it to your plate {picture 2} Make sure your Mornay sauce is warm and spread a little in the center of the crepe on top of the cheese, then top with the mushroom and bean mixture. {picture 3} Fold the sides of the crepe toward the center leaving a little space so you can see the filling. {picture 4}  Phew, that's it. See, quick and easy. BTW..... I spent more time blogging about this then I did actually making it.
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1 comment:

  1. I am making these tonight....and I just saw the angel hair pasta... it will probably be on my menu next week!


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