Leftovers are tricky. Some things are great left over. Pizza is even good cold straight from the fridge for breakfast. Lasagna, spaghetti, and most casseroles take to reheating very well. Unfortunately, a lot of foods are not good on their own left over. However, with some creativity, leftovers can be transformed into something deliciously new and sometimes even better than the original.
I made tarragon chicken fricassée the other night and it was great. Since it made 4 pretty big servings of chicken, I was left with two chicken breasts and some sauce. What to do with these leftovers? I was not about to toss them in the trash. I thought about chopping them up and making chicken salad or combining them with the leftover egg noodles and some sauteed mushrooms and making a baked pasta. I have no idea what made me think of crepes. Some supreme culinary power must have influenced me, because it was a wonderful idea. Chicken and mushroom crepes!
I know what you’re thinking. Crepes are meant to be eaten for breakfast. OR with sugar sprinkled in them, wrapped in paper, handed to you by a cute little Frenchman from a food cart and munched on while walking the streets of Paris at 10 pm. Or is that just me? I had the luxury of doing that exact thing on a French club trip in high school. I must go back there.
Crepes are not meant to be confined to the categories of breakfast and sweets. They can be a perfect thing upon which to serve savory items as well! There is an adorable little trailer restaurant called Flip Happy Crepes in Austin where my sister and I ate for her birthday a few years ago. We ate lunch there and didn’t even try the sweet crepes. This was my first introduction to the savory crepe, and it was spectacular.
Crepes may seem daunting, but they are nothing more than very thin pancakes. The batter should be made a few hours—or up to overnight—before using it, and it should be chilled before it is used as well. This allows the flour particles to absorb the milk and be lighter in texture. The flipping is also a little tricky, but after one or two trials you will get the hang of it.
My first attempt:
After some practice:
A little trial and error will allow you to figure out exactly how long the crepes need to be per side to get nice and set with crunchy edges. I used a non-stick, 8 inch pan over medium high heat with great results. I used between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of batter per crepe. You can adjust based on how thick you want your crepes. This crepe recipe is easily adapted to sweet or savory toppings or fillings. The morning after I made the chicken crepes, I used the leftover batter to make breakfast crepes that I ate with a little butter and sliced strawberries.
I found this recipe when I searched “chicken crepes” on Google. I changed it a little since I had the chicken already. I did not make the béchamel sauce because there was also some sauce from the tarragon chicken left over that I mixed in with the chicken after I diced it. I also was not fancy enough to fold them like I was instructed to. I just folded them in half after filling them.
Here is the original recipe which comes from the chef at Sofitel in Washington D.C.
Mushroom and Chicken Crepes Topped with Tarragon Velouté
- 12 crepes
- 2 cups assorted mushrooms
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 chicken breasts, leftover from Tarragon chicken fricassée
- Leftover sauce from chicken fricassée
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons tarragon chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 12 ounces all purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 quart whole milk
- 4 ounces butter melted
- 2 shallots
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon tarragon
- Seasoning to taste
- For the crepe dough, mix the flour, salt and egg together adding the milk bit by bit until you get a smooth mixture. Add the melted butter and rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight) before using.
- Add a bit of water if it seems too thick.
- Heat an 8 in non stick pan over medium high heat.
- Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into pan, then tilt pan to completely cover with an even layer.
- Cook about 2 minutes per side.
- Keep the crepes in a warm oven separated between pieces of foil on a platter.
For the Filling:
- Sauté the mushrooms together with chopped shallots and herbs in butter.
- Dice the chicken in small cubes.
- Mix chicken, mushrooms and some leftover sauce to bind everything together.
- Cover and set aside.
For the Sauce:
- Sauté the shallots in butter.
- Deglaze with white wine, reduced, add cream, reduce.
- Finish with herbs and seasoning until you get a smooth sauce.
Assemble the Crepes:
- Lay a crepe on the plate.
- Spread some of the chicken filling on half of the crepe.
- Fold over and pour some sauce on top. Sprinkle with some chopped tarragon and serve.
Optional Fancy Serving Style:
- Heat a pan, sauté the crepe gently with butter on both sides.
- Finish in the oven for few minutes. Sautéed some mushrooms on the side with shallots and herbs in butter.
- Display the crepes on top of each other, topped with mushrooms then the sauce.