We've been talking about going to Cafe Henri for months. It's a little Parisian crepe cafe in the West Village on Bedford St. We walk by it often, have heard great reviews. But it's one of those things you always think about, but when trying to think of places to go for dinner - we always forget it! Well, we were finally going to go Sunday but last minute we got lazy, ordered pizza, and watched movies. Oh well... someday! :-)
But, last night, still craving crepes, I thought: why not just make them at home?
For the crepe batter I used the recipe from the wonderful 'The Food of France" cookbook (one of my faves... really one of the only cookbooks I consistently pull out), and for the filling I decided to improvise using a delicious tarragon mustard I had gotten recently. I have to admit that condiments are one of my little obsessions! (...if you can't get tarragon mustard, you can replace it with dijon mustard and chopped tarragon)
Isn't tarragon delicious? It's sweet, with a bit of a licorice taste and just enough spice. I love it in bernaise sauce atop a steak frite, but it also goes so perfectly with chicken ...and mushrooms! So that's what I came up with: a tarragon mustard chicken in a creamy mushroom and shallot wine sauce. All inside delicate french crepes and broiled with gruyere cheese!
Yum, yum, yum!!! What's not to love about crepes, gruyere, and a creamy, spicy tarragon chicken?
It was delicious! It's funny how sometimes dishes just come together on a whim and seem to work out perfectly. A. officially named it one of his top 5 dishes (I'm still trying to find out what the other 4 are! I think Soupy Dumplings are up there)
Anyway... enjoy! :-)
TARRAGON MUSTARD CHICKEN & MUSHROOM CREPES
4 chicken breasts
Juice of 1 lemon
Springs of Thyme, about 5
2 + 1 tablespoons Tarragon Mustard, divided (you can replace with 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard, and 1 tablespoon chopped Tarragon)
1 Shallot, chopped
2 cups of mushrooms, slices
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup Gruyere, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 2/3 cups Milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter
Season the chicken with 1 tablespoon mustard, lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or while you prepare the crepes).
To sautee the chicken do not use a non-stick pan, you want the chicken and vegetables to stick a bit so you can then deglaze. Heat the pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil starts to bubble, add the chicken breasts. Allow the chicken to cook almost completely. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
In the same pan, add the chopped shallots and a dash of salt. Sautee until they start to become clear. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook. Add more olive oil if needed. When the mushrooms start to brown and soften, deglaze the pan with the wine and cream. Add the remaining mustard and taste for salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to come to a boil.
Cut the chicken into 1/2" pieces and add into the sauce. Allow the sauce to continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat.
Now you are ready to assemble the crepes! Preheat the oven to broil (500F). Lay one crepe flat on the oven pan you will be using. Add the chicken and mushroom sauce to half of the crepe. Fold the crepe over in half, and then once over itself again to create a cone shape. Repeat with all crepes (you should have enough chicken for about 8 crepes) and arrange the crepes next to each other in the pan. Pour any remaining sauce into the pan. Sprinkle the crepes with the cheese. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the cheese browns and the crepes start to crisp. Serve immediately with a green salad.
For the crepes:
Sift the dry ingredients and mix together. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk and water. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly add the liquids into the middle while whisking to prevent lumps. Add the melted butter and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
When ready, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan and add about 1/2 of batter per crepe. Move the pan around in a circular motion to create a thin uniform layer of batter in the pan. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate covered with a paper towel while you continue to cook the rest of the batter.
Oh...for dessert? Crepes with Nutella, of course! Just smear any leftover crepes with about 3 tablespoons of Nutella and serve with powdered sugar. :-)