I remember as a teenager thinking that crepes were so delicious and exotic, they must be extremely difficult to make. Shortly after I first tasted them in Quebec City, I went to Paris and saw sidewalk crepe stands all over the city. I was amazed at the speed and consistency with which crepes were being prepared. When I finally got up the nerve to try making crepes at home, I couldn’t believe how simple the process was, and, more importantly, how versatile these thin pancakes can be. While I’ll always have a soft spot for crepes filled with fruit and smothered in a sweet sauce, I really love savoury versions as well.
Feel free to switch up the vegetables in this recipe to suit your taste, or to use up whatever you have on hand. Peppers, carrots or asparagus would all be delicious, to name just a few substitutions. Note that you can prepare the crepes up to a month ahead of time and freeze them stacked between parchment sheets in an airtight container. The filling can similarly be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated. It’s best to assemble the crepes the same day you’re planning to serve them, though they can easily rest in the fridge for up to 8 hours before baking. Serve crepes with a salad and you’ve got a delicious brunch, lunch or dinner menu that’s sure to impress.
For the crepes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
- For cooking: 2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted butter
For the filling
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil, divided
- 1 cup (250 mL) chicken breast, cut in small pieces
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup (250 mL) broccoli florets, cut small
- 1 cup (250 mL) mushrooms, thinly sliced
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon (.65 mL) ground nutmeg
- 1 1/3 cups (340 mL) milk
- 3/4 cup (185 mL) shredded Swiss cheese
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) milk
- Make the crepe batter by using a blender (or stick blender) to combine the eggs, salt, flour and milk. The mixture should be smooth and have the consistency of heavy cream. If it’s lumpy, pour it through a strainer. Let sit at room temperature 30 – 60 minutes.
- Prepare the filling by heating 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil in a medium-sized, heavy duty skilled over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is starting to turn golden and is cooked through.
- Add shallot and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer chicken, shallot and garlic mixture to a clean bowl.
- Add half the remaining oil to the same pan and sauté broccoli for 3 – 5 minutes until just tender. Add to the bowl with the chicken mixture.
- Add remaining oil to the same pan and sauté mushrooms 2 – 4 minutes until tender. Add to the chicken and broccoli.
- Make the sauce by melting the butter in a clean small saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the flour, salt, and nutmeg. Stir to blend well and let it cook for 2 minutes until thickened and smelling a bit like cookies.
- Add the milk then cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add the cheese and whisk until it has melted. Remove from heat.
- Scoop out 1/2 cup (125 mL) of sauce to use as a topping and set aside.
- Add the remaining sauce to the vegetable and chicken mixture and stir gently to combine. Set aside while you cook the crepes.
- To cook the crepes, heat a non-stick crepe pan or skillet over medium-high heat. While skillet heats, whisk the batter that has been resting.
- Brush the hot pan with melted butter then pour about 3 tablespoons batter into the skillet and swirl the pan to create a thin layer approximately 6 – 7 inches (15 – 16.5 cm) in diameter. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly circular – once you fill and fold them, no one will ever know. Cook for about one minute, until the top appears dry, loosening the sides of crepe with a rubber spatula.
- Flip the crepe and cook it until golden-brown spots appear on second side, about 1 minute. Turn crepe out onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with butter and stacking crepes on plate, layering parchment paper between them.
- Once you’ve cooked 8 crepes, preheat oven to 350F.
- Brush the bottom on a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) shallow glass or ceramic baking dish with the remaining melted butter.
- To assemble, place 3 tablespoons of filling in a line down the middle of each crepe. Roll up each crepe and place them, seam side down, in the baking dish.
- Thin the reserved sauce with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of milk then drizzle over the rolled crepes and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until bubbling.
Serves 3 – 4; recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled.