Although my chicken and broccoli crepes tasted very good, rich and creamy, with just a nice bit of crunch from broccoli and celery and a hint of citrus from the chicken, they looked pretty bland. I guess just that’s the trouble with “white” food. They need a lot of color alongside to make them look more appetizing
(I have trouble with some colors of food, though; I especially have trouble with black food or blue food, even blueberries, which I love and have an overabundance of every summer. I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to use the blueberries, although there’s nothing wrong with pies and muffins and fruit salads. I’m working up the courage to make a blueberry (!) chicken. I’ve been collecting recipes for savory blueberry dishes. One of these days . . .)
The recipe for my crepe filling was inspired by a cookbook I got while on a vacation in New England some time ago. I visited a restaurant called “Peter Christian’s” in a college town in New Hampshire. It was in the early 80’s and there were still hippies around. I found the menu in the restaurant eclectic and intriguing. So I bought the cookbook. Lots of unique sandwiches, like Baked Cheese and Olive, and Pete’s Zaa, a pizza-like sandwich. They had soups like Mushroom Wild Rice and Dilled Asparagus Ham Chowder and a host of Mexican and Italian-inspired dishes and desserts out the wazoo. I believe it was there that I first had crepes as a meal. I had Ham Florentine Crepes, which became the inspiration for my chicken & broccoli crepes of the other day.
Any crepe dish is a labor of love, I think, because you have to have all your “inside” ingredients cooked, or at least thawed, beforehand. So it takes a little time. Since I had fresh broccoli and chicken to cook, that’s where I had to start. My favorite way to cook chicken that I know I’m going to use in another dish, or to make chicken salad, is Lemon Chicken. All you need to do is rub chicken pieces – any kind – with a mixture of dried oregano and freshly ground pepper and salt. Then lay the chicken pieces on a bed of thinly sliced lemons. Then bake. If you’re using pieces with bones and skin, place skin side down for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven; then turn them, reduce heat to 375 and continue baking until done, about 35 minutes. If you’re using skinless, boneless breasts, as I did this time, reduce the cooking time to abut half-hour total, turning once, and cover.
I cooked the broccoli in the microwave so that was easy. While the broccoli cooked, I shredded the cheese for the sauce. So here’s the whole shooting match (minus the crepes in the March 31 post):
Chicken & Broccoli Crepes
2 T butter
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped onion
3 cup cooked chicken, cut in small pieces
3 cup cooked broccoli
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
1 t dried tarragon
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
1 T lemon juice
2 T sherry (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
12 cooked crepes
Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until tender but a little crisp. Combine the cooked celery and onion in a big bowl with chicken and broccoli.
In a saucepan, melt the ½ cup butter. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Then stir in the milk, broth and tarragon, stirring until smooth over low heat until thick. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and sherry and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the sauce to the chicken and broccoli mixture.
To assemble, lay a crepe on the work surface and spoon about ¼ cup of the chicken mixture down the middle. Roll each side into the center and lay seam side down in a 13 X 9 casserole that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray. Repeat with the remainder of crepes. Pour remaining half of sauce evenly over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to heat through. Serve 2-3 crepes per person.