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Dinner Tonight | SECOND HELPINGS

Wrap That Bird

April 04, 2001|BY MARY ELLEN RAE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover chicken. Don't be intimidated, crepes are just very thin pancakes. They can be either savory or sweet.

Use your imagination with the fillings. Sauteed scallops and shrimp could be delicious with a creamy garlic Bechamel sauce. Or roast an assortment of vegetables and enclose them with thin slices of Brie and place under the broiler. Make a mixed green salad with a simple vinaigrette and serve with crusty French bread.

Use this basic recipe for desserts by leaving out the herbs and doubling the sugar. Make crepes ahead and freeze between pieces of parchment or waxed paper and place in a freezer bag. This recipe will yield 12, so don't worry if the first one does not turn out. Once your pan is at the perfect temperature and seasoned well with butter, they will look great. A small 7-inch omelet or saute pan works well.

Chicken Provencal Crepes

Active Work Time: 45 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

FILLING

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced fine

1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced

6 ounces sliced button mushrooms

6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced, or 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup artichoke hearts (use the ones marinated in water), cut into quarters

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup low-salt and low-fat chicken broth

3 cups cooked chicken

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and artichoke hearts and cook until the mushrooms are slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, broth, chicken, oregano and thyme and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

CREPES

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1/2 tablespoon butter, to season pan

4 ounces shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

In a blender or food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Combine the milk, eggs, water and melted butter slowly, adding to the processor while the machine is running. Add the chopped thyme and process until smooth.

Heat a crepe pan on medium-low heat and add the 1/2 tablespoon butter. When the bubbles form and the butter is starting to turn brown, add the batter, using a 1/4-cup measure. Swirl the pan around so the batter will be the same thickness all over. Cook on medium-low heat 1 minute. When the edges start to turn a light brown, use a small spatula and flip over. Cook another 30 seconds and place on a plate. Continue making crepes with the remaining batter. Place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between each so they will not stick together and will be easier to assemble.

When you are ready to assemble the crepes, heat the broiler. Stir the sour cream or creme fraiche into the chicken filling. Keep the heat on low; you do not want it to boil.

Place 1 crepe on an ovenproof platter and fill with 1 cup filling. Roll up and sprinkle with a small amount of Gruyere or Swiss cheese. Fill and roll the rest of the crepes and place them in the oven so the cheese melts and turns a light brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

Serve 1 to 2 per plate. A hearty eater can eat 2 or 3.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 650 calories; 722 mg sodium; 213 mg cholesterol; 42 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 37 grams protein; 2.06 grams fiber.

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