Crepes used to scare me. They appear so thin and dainty and vulnerable, like I was when I went to France while backpacking around Europe in my early twenties. But unlike crepes, I was a pussy back then. Through time, crepes have stayed the same, but I think I have changed, especially considering that I can and will make crepes whenever I goddamn well feel like it, and with channeled abandon, no less. To boot, I am no longer thin, dainty, and vulnerable. Crepes daunt me not, and they shouldn’t you either. They’re just thin pancakes with a French accent, kids.
Dinner with Jonny (more specifically, Jonny) will be heading down the Weight Watchers path for a few months (or longer) in order to negate the lovely pounds I have gained back over the holidays. This dinner started out as a Weight Watchers meal. I made a WW chicken and mushroom crepes dish a few years back and we were pleasantly surprised that it was pretty damn good. I felt like making them again today with a light side salad to round it out.
I found a pseudo-Weight Watchers recipe from a long time ago, and I liked the way it read, so it served as my base, but I really improvised quite a bit on this one. That’s why I think the Weight Watchers idea for this dish is out the window. It’s not bad, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s probably not a dish to be making regularly.
Make the crepes first, and they can sit in a stack under paper towels for a while as you get the filling together.
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes a la Jonny
Serves 4 to 6
Crepes (taken from the New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups low fat milk
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Whisk all of the ingredients together until it’s a smooth batter. Heat a small, non-stick skillet, around 6″, over medium-high heat.
Take it off the heat, spray it with cooking spray, and then drop in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the batter. Tilt the pan and swirl the batter so it covers the bottom (it will look like a thin pancake). Cook this, without flipping it, until it’s dry on top (almost shiny) and brownish on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes for each one. In other words, you only cook one side. It takes a few to get the hang of it, so don’t sweat it. As you make them, re-spray the pan with cooking spray as needed.
Stack them on paper towels as you make them and then set them aside until you’re ready to use them.
Chicken and Mushroom Filling
6 tsp. margarine
1 small onion, diced (about a cup)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/8 cup dry white wine (I used prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups water
1/4 light sour cream
3 chicken or vegetable stock cubes, crumbled
2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I roasted them at 400° for 35 minutes. I sprinkled salt and pepper on them first, rubbed them with a bit of olive oil, and then put them in.) You need about 3 to 4 cups of chicken, when all is said and done, however you get there.
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 scallions, sliced, for garnish
In a large skillet or medium saucepan, melt the margarine. Throw in the onions and cook them until they’re soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute them for another 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook it for 2 minutes longer.
Add the flour and mix it in there really well. Cook this for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. It will get to be a light brown at the end of it, and it will be somewhat dry. Stir in the water, and then the sour cream, and then sprinkle in the stock cubes and stir well. Bring this to a boil.
Reduce the heat and cook it for 5 minutes or so. Then, add in the chicken, thyme, and pepper. Let it cook another 3 minutes (I am noticing lots of threes. Possibly it’s a biblical recipe I remembered from reading the Pentateuch all those years ago…). Stir in the frozen peas and, get this, cook it for another 3 minutes.
The filling is done now. Take a crepe and put about 1/4 cup of the chicken and mushroom mixture in it and roll it up nicely. Spoon some of the sauce over it and then sprinkle the scallions over them. Bob’s your uncle.
These are savory, filling, and altogether delightful. I served it with a salad topped with a light vinaigrette, which was perfect.
If you have left over crepes, you can make a quickie dessert, even if it’s just spreading some jam on one and rolling it up. It’s good that way. I had one left, so I spread some peanut butter on it, drizzled some chocolate syrup, and rolled it up. Sounds ghetto, but try it and you’ll see who’s ghetto.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino 2013