Roast Chicken, Swiss Chard and Mushroom Baked Crepes

There I was, prone on the floor.

Crawling over me and beyond to lick shoes, press eject on the DVD player and investigate the cord for the vacuum was a seven month old ball of chaos and chub. To him I now only seem to serve three purposes; climbing frame, trampoline and drink bottle. The days of quiet cuddles are long gone.  And on the bench was a chicken, with fridge condensation pooling against the plastic casing. I was worried about the chicken. It had been out of the fridge for a spell.  I was planning on slow roasting it for dinner.

And yet for some mysterious reason I was stuck.  I simply could not get up off the carpet. Any time I raised beyond 30 degrees my ears would ring, the room would tilt and my stomach would duck dive.

Baby Will thought it was both entertaining, and a little worrying. Every four minutes he would crawl over and paw at my face, like a puppy, to check I was still ok. I would smile at him and try to get up again. Until I realised I was safest on the floor. I managed to message The Hungry One. ‘Blood pressure gone to pot.  Maybe virus? Need you home to bath Will’.  Yet I was still finding it hard not to think about that chicken. You see, it was an expensive, organic, fat bird. The kind that would be very sad to lose to salmonella. The kind that when you buy it at the supermarket the lady behind you asks if she can have your cartoon ‘heroes’ tokens, because you’ve spent enough to earn plenty (these are things I’m still blissfully ignorant about). By this stage I didn’t want it roasted. I didn’t want to have to negotiate bones. All I wanted to eat was what my late grandmother would make for us when we were poorly and went to stay at her house. We’d wear nightgowns she’d sewn for us, out of Butterick pattern books,with smocking on the front and long dressing gowns. There would be a bar heater on. And she and my grandfather would be watching ‘Sale of the Century’. They were always watching Sale of the Century. I think it was the only program he would turn his hearing aid up for.  She would make us crepes, stuffed with a mushroom and chicken mornay sauce, baked until the edges were crisp. It was almost as comforting as being firmly tucked into a single bed under a blanket with a satin ribbon edge and patted off to sleep.

We didn’t eat those crepes that night. Together The Hungry One and I outsourced dinner to a nifty piece of technology that we’re coming to rely on more and more. The whole bird got plonked in the ‘varoma’ crazy steamer container that sits on the top of the thermomix and makes it look like a NASA toy. A litre of water and a lemon went in underneath. And we pressed a few buttons and left it to steam for 40 minutes. After 40 we pulled out the lemon and inserted into the steamer basket a few hunks of pumpkin. It all steamed for another twenty. The liquid in the bottom was now a lovely chicken infused stock which we put in tupperware for another night. The pumpkin was soft- it was quickly blitzed in the beast with a tin of drained white beans into a puree that fed both us and Will. And the chicken was silky and moist. We added splodges of mustard to the breasts and sat down to a surprisingly elegant dinner of  lemon scented chicken, pumpkin puree and a green salad. It was easy and almost perfect (10 minutes of crisping the skin in the oven would have taken it there). But it wasn’t what I was dreaming of.

Which is why sometimes leftovers are the best thing of all. The next day I was feeling much better. Sleep, cups of tea, water, rest, all these things help. I was a little wobbly, but not too feeble to make crepes.

This is a recipe worth roasting a chicken for. If you’ve got 200 g of cold roasted meat left in the fridge, you’re set. All that’s left to do is puree some greens (swiss chard has a nice, neutral nutty flavour) and make the crepes. My grandmother would have made old school pancakes, with a ratio of 1:1:1 – 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk and 1  egg. I’ve gone a slow carb route and used chickpea flour instead, giving a slower release of energy. I’ve written about chickpea flour crepes before; traditionally known as ‘socca’, they are the domain of the south of France, where they bed down with rosemary and their crisp edges play in consort with olives and pink wine. Here I don’t mind if the perimeters are a little pliable. They’re going to be smothered in a thick chicken veloute style sauce and baked, topped with parmesan. It’s a sort of canneloni. It’s a sort of pancake bake. It’s thrifty comfort food at its best.

Feel free to swap the roasted mushrooms for eggplant, onion, or even frozen peas. You could top it with extra cheese- mozzarella would give it a nice pull and chew. And if you want to substitute the swiss chard for kale or spinach, that would be just fine too.  Even a tin of chopped tomatoes would work in a pinch. It will take the dish in a different direction, but it will still work.

This is best served hot and eaten on the couch in front of the television.

Smocked nightgowns are optional.

 Roast Chicken, Swiss Chard and Mushroom Baked Crepes

Serves 4


Chickpea flour crepes

(Makes 8-10 crepes, depending on the size of your pan)

350 grams of chickpea flour/ besan
800 ml of luke warm water
125 ml of olive oil
2 tsp finely diced fresh rosemary
Salt, to balance any bitterness in the chickpea flour


1/2 large bunch of swiss chard, finely chopped, or blitzed in a blender and sauteed with 2 garlic cloves and 1 tbsp of olive oil (this should leave you with two cups of green puree)200 grams of roast chicken meat, shredded (or you can pull it from a store bought barbecued chicken)
150 grams of mushrooms, either roasted for 20 minutes in 180C/ 350 F oven, or roughly chopped and sauteed with 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Veloute sauce

60 g of chickpea flour/besan (you could also use plain flour if you prefer)
60 g unsalted butter
2 cups of chicken stock
30 g of parmesan cheese, grated

Here’s how we roll

1) At least 30 minutes prior to making the pancakes mix the batter. Combine the chickpea flour with the olive oil, whisking together. Whisk in the water and rosemary and leave to sit for half an hour, or a few hours.

2) Preheat the oven to 200C/ 392 F.

3) Place a non stick pan over a medium heat. Pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom and swirl around. When the edges start to crisp use a spatula to pull them down towards the centre to loosen. Cook until you can easily lift the crepe from the bottom of the pan. Gently flip and brown the other side. Slide the crepe onto a plate and repeat until all the mixture is finished.

4) Combine together half of the green puree with the chicken, cooked mushrooms and ricotta. Stir to combine.

5) To make the veloute combine the butter and the chickpea flour in a pan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and you have a fawn roux. Pour in the stock and stir over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until you have a glossy sauce, the consistency of double cream.  Put aside.

6) Place the remaining half of the green puree in the base of a lasagne dish, the size of an A4 sheet of paper. This will help prevent the crepes from soldering to the base of the dish while they bake.

7) Place three tablespoons of mixture down the centre of the  crepes and roll up and nestle across the baking dish, snuggling them up against each other. Repeat until you have used up all of the crepes.

8) Pour the veloute sauce over the top of the crepes and then sprinkle over the grated parmesan cheese.

9) Bake for 20 minutes until the sauce is bronzed and bubbling and the crepes are heated all the way through. Serve with a green salad and perhaps some Dijon mustard on the side.

{ 1 Comment }
  1. Tori those crepes look amazing and your little man is so cute I can hardly take it! I hope you’re feeling better (and not overdoing it!). Sending happy thoughts your way, Jess

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