Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mushroom Crepes

Sit down, this is going to be a long recipe. Comfy? OK, let's talk about crepes. Or we can talk about serving white food on a white plate which is a very Midwestern thing to do except it is typically creamed cod and cauliflower. *shrug*
I filled these, and baked them with a white sauce in the oven. You could serve them just folded over the filling with a thin sauce atop them if you prefer, but I was going for a casserole effect, and a few subsequent meals out of it. These are closer to filled pasta shells, except I used rolled crepes.

The biggest problem I've encountered with crepes is not letting the batter rest long enough. some recipes say an hour is sufficient. I am telling you it is not. You need at least six, or overnight, at least for this particular batter. Hot pan, cold batter needs to be the mantra here, and you must work quickly once you pour. I can't tell you what pan/method will work best for you on your stove, with your ability. What I can tell you is to have all your equipment ready at hand, and make sure that batter is well chilled. Get yourself a very thin, flexible spatula (Oxo makes a nice inexpensive one) to help you flip. You'll find it is a useful tool for dislodging egg from a pan as well. There are many kitchen tools I could survive without, but good spatulas are a necessity.

Here's the batter recipe you'll want to prepare early in the morning. This is basically the Julia Child recipe, the only difference being I don't prepare it in a blender, and I use lowfat milk.
 1 cup milk (I use 1% because that's what we drink. There's plenty of fat in the eggs and butter so I wouldn't get too worried if you must use skim).
1 cup very cold water
4 eggs graded large
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted (if using salted butter, omit salt above)
2 cups plain flour

Pour the milk, water, eggs, and salt into a bowl. Whisk until combined. Add 1 cup of the flour, whisking until smooth. Add second cup of flour and repeat. Finish by whisking in the butter. You can use a mixer, but I've always had good results with a whisk-it isn't a terribly heavy batter. The batter should be smooth. Cover it with cling film, and chill at least six hours before using.

Make your crepes in a hot pan over medium heat, tilting the pan as you pour so that the crepe will be even. Cook until top looks dry, flip and cook about 30 seconds longer. Remove to a plate with sheets of wax paper between the crepes. Cool before filling.

Meanwhile, make the mushroom and cheese filling:

1 lb. mushrooms finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup ruby port

Heat the butter in a heavy pan until melted. Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they have given off quite a bit of liquid. Add spices. Turn up heat to high, add the port and cook until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and chill until needed.

For the cheese:
3 cups cottage cheese forced through a sieve, or ricotta. You can use low fat as long as you strain  the extra liquid away first.
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan (or other hard cheese). Plus 1/2 cup for topping before baking.
2 eggs or 3 egg whites
Mix together well.

Combine mushrooms and cheeses for the filling.

For the sauce;

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons quick blending flour (I use Wondra for sauces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups milk (again, I use 1 % as there's plenty of fat to go round in this recipe)

Melt butter, add flour and cook until foamy. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add spices and cook until it comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat. If not using right away, pour a thin layer of cream over the top to keep it from forming a skin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the pan for easier cleanup(I use a 9x13 metal pan). Fill each crepe, and roll like you would a burrito tucking in the edges. Arrange them in the pan. Pour over sauce, then top with reserved cheese. Cover tightly with foil, and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 30 minutes longer.

This is a heavy dish, so either serve it with a salad or vegetables lightly roasted in oil (I mean, really lightly). I has some green beans, carrots, and beets which also gave a bit of colour to an otherwise bland looking meal.

Re-heats beautifully in either a slow oven, or the microwave. We got a few meals out of this. I wouldn't freeze the finished dish, but any extra crepes may be frozen for later use.

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