Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Florentine Crepes

I haven't been this excited to post a recipe since the Lemon Gnocchi last month. Lately I have felt stale in my kitchen. It may be the roller coaster that life has put my family on that has deflated my excitement for cooking. It's six months after my parents were hit by a drunk driver and they are still dealing with serious hospital visits and scary surgeries. The good news is I think we are finally on the mending end of all this - both physically and emotionally. My parents are at home and doctors say they will BOTH be back to (a new) normal in 4-6 months. Because, let's face it...you don't just shake off something like this. Don't drink and drive folks, it ruins lives! 

Let me get back to the exciting part! My enthusiasm and interest in cooking has returned and I'm head strong about stretching my culinary point of view. Jim has remained my muse and the reason I am persistently experimenting in the kitchen. I find inspiration from all over but mainly the web and my cooking magazines. My newest Food Network magazine gave me the idea for Savory Crepes and after searching and searching online for the perfect recipe, I decided to write my own. Most Chicken Crepe recipes I found also contained mushrooms and the filling wasn't as creamy as I had imagined. When writing my own recipe, I referenced Emeril Lagasses 2003 recipe for Savory Crepes with Creamy Chicken, Ham and Mushroom Filling.  Jim and I both agreed my dish was a remarkable success and one that I will certainly add to the "entertaining" file for when we have guests over.

Here are the ingredients to HWM Chicken Florentine Crepes:

6 Crepes (I used store bought, but will one day tackle the homemade crepe)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cups chicken stock, hot
salt and pepper
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped green onions
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
3/4 cup grated Parmesan



This fist step may be the ONLY intimidating part of this recipe, but EVERYONE should master the bechemel sauce! If you are unsure, refer back to the Croque Monsieur post earlier this year where I did step by step a little better than I'm posting here.

Pictures above is 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat with 2 T flour whisked in. Then I slowly poured in the hot chicken stock. It's a beautiful pale blond roux. More about roux here! My favorite rule of roux... 3rd rule of roux is we don’t talk about how difficult roux can be – we just put our big girl panties on and make roux.



Next, I slowly whisk in the cream and simmer, stirring, until well incorporated and thickened.
Add 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere, salt and pepper and you are done, kind of.

You should turn the heat way way down and stir this every now and then so it doesn't burn. I was doing too many things in the kitchen with two pans going at one time, writing down the recipe and editing as I went all while setting up the camera and photographing the whole thing. You know what I did? Once the sauce was made, I turned the burner off and stirred the saucepan every now and then so I didn't get a thick film on top as it cooled. When it came closer to using the sauce, I turned the heat up to make it all loosey-goosey again.


In a large saucepan I melted two tablespoons of light butter over medium heat.

Then place your boneless, skinless chicken breast in the pan and season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Use what you have, salt and pepper would be just fine too!

I received this splatter screen as a wedding gift and I absolutely love it. It helps keep my stove top cleaner while cooking foods that would otherwise splatter.

Cook the chicken for 6 minutes on each side until done. To tell if the chicken is done, pierce it with a fork. If the juices run clear, it's done.

Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest for five minutes, and then shred with two forks.

Now, let's put those brown chicken bits to good use on the bottom of that saute pan. I took half an onion and sliced it thinly and let it cook in the same pan we cooked the chicken in.

The onions sweat and you will start to see the tasty brown bits come up from the bottom of the pan.

I chopped up about three garlic cloves and added them to the onions along with 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. The salt will help the onions release their moisture and caramelize.

After about four minutes, I add about 1/4 cup of sherry and use the wood spoon to scrape up the last bits of goodness from the bottom of the pan. Let the pan deglaze and sizzle until the liquid is just about evaporated.

Now it's time to add the shredded chicken back into our pan.

Mmm Mmm Mmm, it's looking good! Stir this around until all is combined.

Chop a tablespoon of green onion and somewhere between a 1/2 to a full tablespoon of tarragon.

After adding the green onion and fresh tarragon, we have everything needed for the filling. Now we need to make it creamy! This is when I turn the heat up on the sauce for a minute so it gets pourable.

Add enough sauce to the chicken mixture to make it creamy, about 1 cup.

Add the "Florentine" next. This is about two cups of baby spinach added to the chicken mixture and stir until the heat of the sauce and chicken wilt the spinach.

Beautiful!

These paper thin crepes were bought at my local HEB from the produce department. They were most likely intended to be used with strawberries and cream. I've also seen packaged crepes near the specialty cheeses in the deli section. After reading several blogs regarding homemade crepes, I'm convinced I could make these homemade next time.
Add about 1/4 cup or so of the creamy chicken mixture to the bottom third of the crepe.

Roll each crepe up like a cigar and lay them in a casserole dish. These are paper thin so be gentle.

I fit six crepes in my casserole dish.


Next, pour the remaining sauce over the top of the chicken crepes.


The crepes can be tightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 3 days at this point. Bring to room temperature before baking. Now these babies are ready for the oven! Bake at 350 until warmed through and the top becomes bubbly, 15-30 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan and put under a broiler until it browns on top.

Serve with a big spring salad and DIG in. This turned out to be the most flavorful and creamy chicken crepe I've ever had. It's the first chicken crepe I've ever had, and both Jim and I thought it was delish. The recipe made six crepes, which made enough for Jim and I to have two each for dinner. He had the remaining two for lunch the next day....and he said he was disappointed they were all gone. This recipe is a keeper! I'm writing this for future Mandy to remind her to make this recipe next time we have company over. This would be excellent to prepare ahead of time for guests.


Printable Recipe {Chicken Florentine Crepes}

6 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your parents. There is nothing I hate more than people who drive drunk!

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  2. yum yum yum!

    i recently made crepes (savory) that we loved! http://www.thesweetslife.com/2011/02/butternut-squash-mushroom-and-spinach.html

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  3. Just found this post -- awesome! I'm glad to see you enjoyed Frieda's brand Crepes! Your recipe looks delicious! Please contact me if you're interested in doing more recipes with these pre-made Crepes.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely Karen! Thanks for offering!

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  4. I'm making these again tonight! Jim is soooo excited!

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  5. I just made these, they are delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe.
    Steph
    swtboutique.com

    ReplyDelete

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