How about crêpes for a gourmet Easter lunch or dinner?
A restaurant called The Magic Pan Crêpery, opened in 1965 and almost everything on the menu involved crêpes. I ate there often in the 70’s and my favorite crêpes were their chicken crêpes with a white sauce and ratatouille crepes sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.
This restaurant is where I got the inspiration for these Chicken and Mushroom Crêpes that I used for dinner parties. I had included the recipe in a little cookbook which I’d kept that was used for a family political campaign. The other day I was looking through it and realized I’d forgotten about one of my favorite old recipes. I made it again this week. It was wonderful to once again experience the taste of the chicken, mushrooms and Vermouth filling wrapped in the delicate crêpes with the wonderful sauce.
There are a number of parts to this recipe. If you have your own crepe and hollandaise recipes that are easy for you to do, use them, following the notes I have made.
Back in the 70’s, making Eggs Benedict almost every weekend, and making these chicken crêpes, gave me a lot of practice at making hollandaise. When I was researching hollandaise on the internet, I realized that mine recipe was really different. I add tablespoons of hot water at the beginning before slowly pouring in the melted butter. And I make the sauce in a bowl over hot water, like a double boiler. I tried a new popular recipe I found on the internet for hollandaise done with an emulsion hand blender. There was no water added to the egg yolks, just butter. It felt more difficult to me and there was a lot more clean up involved. There are also recipes for a standing blender that look easy but, again, I had trouble.
But that’s me. I was used to the old way in a double boiler, and adding hat water first and that’s the way that works for me. But you may may have mastered using a machine. All this is to say use what is easiest for you. Substitute that recipe for the one below. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon in place of what your recipe may calls for and it will taste exactly the same.
Chicken and Mushroom Crêpes
This recipe makes 30 crêpes, filling for the 30 crêpes and then the sauce for the 30 crêpes.
I haven’t looked at any of the recipes or videos on making crêpes but I would think any basic unsweetened recipe for crêpes and any method for cooking them would be fine. If however they don’t have to tilt the pan to remove excess, the crêpes could be thicker rather than delicate. Also, don’t let them brown like pancakes. You should be removing them from the pan while they are still white. It only take seconds for these to cook because they are so thin.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 4 medium eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
- 2 cups flour
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for one minute. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, heat a small skillet (a heavy stainless steel skillet works well) on medium high. Using a paper towel with some oil or butter on it, rub the hot skillet giving it a little coating of fat. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the skillet. As you do this quickly lift the skillet to roll the batter around so that it goes slightly up the sides of the skillet. Then tilt the skillet so the excess runs back into the batter in the blender. Use a table knife to help get the excess out of the skillet while trimming that edge of the crêpe where the excess is pouring out. Return the skillet to the heat. Watch for the edges to start to look cooked and possibly start to separate from the pan. Slip the tip of the knife under the thick side where the excess flowed over, sliding it across to get a flap you can grab with your fingers to flip the crêpe over to the other side.
The crêpe will cook very quickly. It’s preferable that it doesn’t brown as this gives the eggs the same taste if you over cooked your fried eggs. As the skillet continues to heat you will be working faster to get the crêpe flipped over and out of the skillet. The finished crêpes can be stacked right on top of each other on a plate. You will be carefully pulling them off one at a time when it’s time to fill them.
You can put the crêpes, filling and sauce in the refrigerator and do the assembling the next day. If you do, cold crêpes will be more stuck together. Before you begin the step of filling them, bring them to room temperature or let them sit a bit so the outsides warm up, then gently pull them off one at a time transferring them to another plate.
Chicken and Mushroom Filling
- 1 8 ounce box (2 cups) finely minced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Vermouth
- 8 cups cooked chicken, cut into very small pieces
- 1 cup béchamel sauce (see below)
Sprinkle the juice over the mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the juices have evaporated. Add the Vermouth and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken. Stir in the béchamel sauce.
The sauce is a mixture of béchamel, hollandaise and heavy cream.
- about 2 1/2 cups béchamel sauce (recipe below)
- 1 batch hollandaise sauce (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Whisk all three ingredients together. If necessary, add as much milk as needed to have the right consistency for pouring over the crêpes.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 cups hot milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly grated pepper
Heat the milk. Melt the butter in a heavy (light colored if you have one) saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the milk whisking until thick and smooth. Whisk in the salt and a sprinkle of freshly grated pepper. Remove one cup for the filling and before the mixtures cool cover them with waxed paper to prevent a skin from forming that will make the sauce lumpy.
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons hot water
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Melt the butter in a small pan that works for pouring the butter out without it running down the pan and on the counter. I have a lipped sauce pan that works very well. One with an indentation for pouring is ideal. Test your pots using water. You don’t want to be in the middle of blending, having to switch the butter to another pan. I set the pan back on the warm burner to keep the melted butter hot as I’m doing the incorporating. If the butter isn’t hot enough, the mixture won’t thicken.
Place a stainless steal bowl over a pan with simmering water. Place the three yolks in the warm bowl and whisk for 10 seconds. Add the hot water 1 tablespoon at the time. The mixture will become a little frothy but will not thicken yet. After the water is added, begin pouring in the hot butter slowly whisking constantly. When you’ve added about 1/2 to 3/4’s of it, the mixture will thicken. If at any time the eggs start to look like they are cooking, quickly remove the bowl from the pan to the counter to cool it down as you continue whisking.
Whisk in the lemon juice.
Whisk together the hollandaise, béchamel and heavy cream. The amount of flour in the béchamel can be different depending on how it is measured. If the sauce seems too thick to pour over the crêpes, thin it out with some milk.
Fill the 30 crêpes with the chicken mixture, lining them up in casseroles. You can use large casseroles and lay the crepes both directions to fill the dish. In these pictures I have used smaller ones, 2 9″ by 13″s and 3 9″ by 9″s, so I can cook and serve the crêpes on different days. Pour the sauce over the crêpes. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
In the picture they are served with a salad made with butter and green leaf lettuces and a lemon vinaigrette dressing made with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice (or white balsamic vinegar), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 teaspoons honey. Shake all ingredients in a jar or salad dressing battle.