There’s rarely a meal that I love more than afternoon tea. The only (and like I said, rare) exception is a lively and bountiful brunch. Like afternoon tea, there’s a sense of art and elegance to this culinary merging of eats. A brilliant brunch experience wakes you up, gets you excited, and reminds you to enjoy life.
If you love brunch as much as I do, then you absolutely must check out my friend Tina’s delightful site, The Worktop. Tina specializes in bringing the best of yummy AM~PM eats to her readers, and even has a London Brunch Guide since she’s based out of the UK. Many of her recipes have a healthier twist and some are just plain decadent, but all are equally tempting. My favorites are her adorable Pancake Ice Cream Sandwiches and Chorizo Menemen, also known as Turkish-Style Scrambled Eggs, which is something like a spicy, scoopable omelet. Sounds delicious right!?
Today’s feature on The Worktop are my Chicken & Chive Crêpes. What I love about this recipe is that these tender, stuffed rolls can be made several hours ahead of time. In fact, the filling can even be made the day before you plan on serving. If you’re putting a beautiful weekend brunch spread together, these savory pancakes deliver on deliciousness without causing unnecessary stress in the kitchen.
The secret ingredient in these crêpes is Lapsang Souchong tea steeped in milk, which adds a layer of smokey flavor to the creamy chicken filling. The tea adds depth and richness to a butterless, olive oil roux-based white sauce. With the use of pine-fired tea and fresh chives, the recipe balances darker winter flavors with lively spring ones.
Makes 10 filled crêpes.
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
large tea filter (I used a T-Sac)
10″ crêpe pan
1/2 cup measure
1/4 cup measure
1.) Flavor the Milk. In a medium pot, bring the 2 cups of milk to a boil. Right when it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and steep the Lapsang Souchong for 5 minutes. It is easiest to do this with a large paper tea filter. After 5 minutes, remove the steeped tea leaves. Set the milk aside.
2.) Make the Filling. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. Lower the heat, then sauté the diced shallot until just translucent. Add the flour to the shallots and oil. Cook the flour for a few minutes, until light brown in color. Gradually add the hot milk to the roux, then continue to mix and cook the sauce on low heat until everything is well incorporated and starts simmering. Add the provolone and parmesan to the simmering white sauce. Let it melt completely. Add the white wine and spinach, again mixing to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. Add the diced chicken, nutmeg, and ground pepper to taste. Set this filling aside to cool.
3.) Make the Crêpe Batter. Place all the crêpe ingredients (except the non-stick spray) in the blender, placing the liquid ingredients in first before adding the dry. Blend until the mixture is lump-free and smooth.
4.) Cook the Crêpes. Spray the crêpe pan with non-stick spray, then place it on very low heat until the pan gets evenly warm. Pour a 1/2 cup of the batter in the center of the pan, then smooth the batter out to an even thickness with a wooden crêpe spreader. Cook the crêpe for a few minutes on the first side, until it releases from the pan. Check to see that the color of the crêpe underneath is lightly browned, then flip the crêpe over to cook on the other side for a few minutes more. Repeat this step to make 10 crêpes.
5.) Fill the Crêpes. Place a crêpe on a work surface, then place 1/4 cup of the cooled filling in the bottom 1/3 of the round (the side closest to you), in the center. On top of the crêpe, shape the filling into a 6″ log with a small spoon. Generously scatter some chopped chives over the filling.
Fold the bottom side of the crêpe (the side closest to you) over the filling, then fold in the right and left sides towards the center. Roll the crêpe up tightly, in a sushi roll like fashion, upwards (away from you) until you get a cigar-shaped, filled crêpe roll. Repeat this step to make 10 filled, rolled crêpes. Serve immediately, or make up to a few hours ahead of time.
*** Tip: If the filled crêpes are made ahead of time, cover a plate of crêpes with a large dampened paper towel, then place them in the microwave to warm for a few minutes before serving. The cheese filling will melt and become oozy again.