Crepes are a favorite special at the Havre de Grace Ritz Gourmet Cafe, where chef and owner Stephanie Anderson fills them with everything from cheese to vegetables to crab — perfect for summertime. She loves this recipe for a chicken-and-mushroom filling but encourages home cooks to be creative. “This is a basic recipe, and so many alterations can be made,” she says. “Your imagination is the limit.”
Cooking the crepes themselves may take some practice, she warns, but once you get the hang of it, they’re fairly simple. For an even easier meal, pre-made crepes are available in the produce section of many grocery stores.
Anderson recommends pairing these crepes with steamed asparagus or grape tomatoes roasted with garlic and olive oil, both of which balance and lighten the richness of the filling.
Makes 6-8 servings
(2 crepes per person)
For the crepes:
¾ cup milk
2⁄3 cup beer (Anderson recommends Coors or Yuengling, not light beer)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
For the white sauce:
9 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk or half-and-half, warmed
½ cup dry vermouth
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper
2 cups portobello mushrooms
2 large inner stalks of celery, minced
1 large shallot, minced
4 cups roasted chicken, pulled (can be rotisserie chicken)
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
To make the crepes:
- Blend eggs, milk, beer, salt, flour and 2 tablespoons canola oil in a blender for 1 minute and 30 seconds or until smooth.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Place a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat and cover the bottom with the remaining oil. Ladle in 2 ounces of batter and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom.
- Cook until the top appears almost dry and the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute.
- Turn the crepe and brown the other side slightly. (This will only take a moment.)
- Remove the crepe and repeat the process. Stack the finished crepes between sheets of waxed paper.
To make the sauce:
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir flour into the butter and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the consistency is smooth. (This will start to cook out the floury taste.)
- Gradually whisk in the warm milk
- and vermouth.
- Continue to whisk until the mixture begins to bubble and is thick and smooth. The sauce won’t reach its full thickness until it begins to bubble.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- If you aren’t using the sauce immediately, lay a piece of wax paper directly on top of the sauce so no crust forms.
- In a pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sautee the mushrooms until they caramelize, about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to crowd the mushrooms in the pan.
- In another pan over medium heat, melt another tablespoon of butter. Sautee the shallots and celery until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Fold the mushrooms, celery, shallots, chicken and thyme into the white sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
- Place a generous dollop of filling in the center of a crepe, spreading to make a horizontal line along its middle.
- Fold the top over and then roll to form a crepe cannelloni.
- Place filled and rolled crepes on a heat-proof platter. Set the broiler to high. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 tablespoon per crepe). Place the platter in the oven, at least 8 inches from the heat source, and broil to heat through. (Keep a close eye on the crepes; this should not take long, especially if the filling is still warm when the crepes are placed in the oven.)