Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken and Asparagus Crepes

This recipe is so worth the effort it takes to make this dish. I only wish I had doubled it! It also refrigerates well so you could make it Saturday night, refrigerate it and you can pop it into the oven after church on Sunday for 15 minutes for an easy gourmet meal! And no comments about the unbelievable amounts of butter in this recipe. This is a French recipe after all! Viva la France! Viva la tummy roll.

First you make the crepes. You have to make the batter first and refrigerate it for an hour, so get started early. You can also make them ahead of time and put in the fridge with waxed paper between the crepes and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge up to 3 days.

Crepes (supposed to make 12 but I made 7 larger ones):
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbl. whole milk
pinch salt
4 1/2 tsp. of melted unsalted butter for the batter
1 1/2 tsp. of melter butter for your pan (Pam could also work just fine)

Whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, salt and 4 1/2 tsp. of butter for form a smooth, thin batter. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Heat a heavy 6-inch skillet over medium high heat (I used a larger skillet to make larger crepes). Brush with butter (or spray with Pam). Ladle 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan, tilting the skillet to evenly coat the pan with batter. It doesn't have to be perfect please. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and the top begins to look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula, carefully turn the crepe and cook on the second side just until the bottom colors slightly, about 30 seconds. I was surprised how easy it is to turn if you let it cook enough on the first side. Transfer to a plate. Put pieces of waxed paper between the crepes.

Ingredients:

crepes (recipe above)
4 Tbl. butter (more butter below, I know...)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, hot
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I substituted with whole milk successfully)
1 Tbl. milk
1 cup grated Gruyere (I substituted Mozzarella here)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch dice (I had previously baked a chicken and removed the meat and froze it. I used that for this recipe)
2 Tbl. butter
6 asparagus stalks chopped into 1/4" pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 pound baked ham, chopped (about 3/4 cup) (I used chopped uncooked turkey bacon)
1 tsp. tarragon
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter (or use Parchment paper) a glass 9 x 13 pan

Sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tbl. of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened into a pale blond roux, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot stock in a steady stream, whisking to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently until thick. Add 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/8 tsp. of pepper and stir to incorporate. Slowly whisk in the cream and simmer, stirring, until well incorporated and thickened. Remove from the heat and very lightly film the top with the milk to prevent a skin from forming.

Insides: In a large pan or skillet, heat 2 Tbl. of butter over medium-high heat. Add the uncooked chicken (if you are using cooked chicken, we'll add that later). Brown and cook through about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus, onion and garlic and cook until the onions are clear. Add the salt, tarragon and pepper. Add the ham (or bacon) and cook for 2 minutes. (If you are using pre-cooked chicken, add it after the ham/bacon is cooked). Add 1/4 cup water and stir to deglaze (get the good stuff off the bottom of the pan). Add 1 cup of your Sauce (above) to this mixture. Turn off of the heat and let it cool a bit. Add the cheeses to your cream sauce and stir.

Now to the good part!

Put your crepes on a work surface. One at a time, spoon the filling along the bottom third of each crepe. Roll up. Place seam side down into your baking dish. Continue until you have used up all your crepes.

Pour the cheesy cream sauce on and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
(Note: after you pour the cheesy cream sauce on, you can cover the crepes tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 day or freeze for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

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