I am typically organized in the kitchen. My sense of order is replete when I have cleaned my kitchen, laid out all of my ingredients and utensils, and finished my prep work. Today is not this day. Because of this, I only have a few pictures to post with this recipe. I am all over my kitchen and don’t have the time to pick up my camera for fear my béchamel will burn as I am sautéing onions, while checking my crepes to make sure they aren’t sticking together… You get the idea. My mind is frazzled with the goings-on of my life, and I’ve done none of my prep work. I confess that I am messy in my kitchen. I don’t have time (post-prep) to worry about how dirty my floors are becoming (I have dogs after all), how many pots and pans I’m dirtying, or if my clothes are covered in flour. All that matters to me when I cook is the cook.Today, I am in need of a multi-dimensional self. In spite of the mess all over my kitchen, these crepes are delectably palatable.
First, boil a pound of chicken breast in enough water to cover. Twenty minutes should cook them through. While they are boiling, make the crepe batter. Mix 3 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups of milk, and 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour in a blender. When it’s thoroughly blended, 30-40 seconds, add 5 Tablespoons of melted butter and blend again. It should make a nice thin batter with no lumps or separation. This goes into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. While the batter is resting, check the chicken. When it’s fully cooked, drain the broth. I keep my broth in a jar in the refrigerator or in my freezer to use for other things. I find that the more it’s used to boil chicken, the tastier it becomes.
Next, prep your chicken and make your crepes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, it can be chopped or shredded. I prefer shredded, but chopping is faster. It doesn’t affect the flavor, it’s just a matter of texture. Now set it aside and take the crepe batter out of the refrigerator. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and drop enough butter in to coat the bottom of the pan. Spread just enough batter on your skillet to coat the bottom of the skillet. This is the part that I found required a little finesse. I warmed my skillet, buttered it, and picked it up off of my burner. While holding the hot skillet in my left hand at about a 45 degree angle, I slowly poured on my batter. Starting in the center, I poured my batter while tilting my pan around and around in circles, making a thin, round crepe. I didn’t measure how much batter I used. It could be anywhere from 1/4 – 1/2 cup. It will depend on the size of the skillet. Immediately return the skillet to the burner to cook. A minute should do it. The edges will look a little dry. Flip that crepe. A wide spatula, or an experienced flick of the wrist will do it. If it sticks, it’s not ready to flip! This second side will cook faster, 30-45 seconds. Repeat this until no more batter remains. Go ahead and make a small one with that tiny bit left over. Trust me. It comes in handy later. Stack the crepes one on top of the other and set aside. No, they don’t need anything between them to prevent sticking together. This recipe can be stopped here and picked back up the next day. If so, refrigerate the covered chicken and crepes separately.
Make your filling. Mix a cup of parmesan cheese with a cup of ricotta and set aside. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil to a skillet and place on medium heat. Add 4-5 minced garlic cloves, a medium yellow onion, and 12 oz. mushrooms. After the onions cook to translucence, add 1/2 lb. spinach. Cover and continue to sauté. After the spinach wilts, add the already cooked and prepped chicken and a bottle (approximately 3/4 cup) of white wine. I used a Pinot Grigio, because that’s what I had on hand. A nice buttery Chardonnay would be even better here. Sauté, uncovered, until the wine evaporates. Remove from heat and add to your cheese mixture. Mix it up.
Fill your crepes with the filling. Place a healthy spoonful or two on the middle of a crepe. Spread it longwise a bit and roll it up. Place in a buttered pan. Repeat this process until all of your crepes are full. Remember that tiny crepe that was made from the little bit of leftover batter? Go ahead and fill it too and set it aside.
Make your béchamel sauce. Béchamel is another word for white sauce, and its versatility makes it the perfect base for many other cream sauces. In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. After it’s fully melted, add 3 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Whisk and cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep the heat low. The flour needs to cook, not brown. Slowly add a cup of milk while whisking. At first this will make a lumpy mess, but as more milk is added and whisked, it will thin out. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk. Salt an pepper to taste.
Pour the béchamel over the crepes. I had a few leftover tomatoes, so I sliced them and laid them on top of the béchamel. I sprinkled a little salt on top of my tomatoes and cooked the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
1 lb chicken breast, salted and peppered
water to cover
1/2 t salt
2 c milk
1 3/4 c flour
5 T melted butter
1 c ricotta
1 c grated Parmesan
2 T olive oil
4-5 minced garlic cloves
1 medium yellow onion, diced
12 oz button or portobello mushroom, chopped
1/2 lb spinach
3/4 c white wine, Chardonnay is ideal. I used a 187 ml bottle from a 4-pack I keep for cooking when I don’t have an open bottle
Butter to butter the pan
3 T butter
3 T flour
1/2 t nutmeg
salt & pepper
Trust me when I say that prep work will make this recipe a whole lot easier. It may take more time, but it’s worth it. Remember that little leftover crepe stuffed with leftover filling that you set aside earlier? While your crepes are cooking and you’re cleaning up, reward yourself by scraping that empty béchamel pot with it for a preview of what’s about to come out of the oven.