21 February 2012

Pancakes for dinner...

...Retro Revival Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crispy Pancakes...


When my sister and I were growing up, Mum cooked for us every day...no convenience foods, just good home-made meals. I remember looking at the frozen foods in the supermarket when we went shopping, and being told that things like the ready-made frozen crispy pancakes were full of additives etc and not good...but look what was in the March edition of Delicious Magazine...



...A Retro Revival section full of those 80s foods that your Mum always said were no good...that have been re-visited and made with fresh ingredients that are good for you!! Yay!! Well as it is Shrove Tuesday, I thought I'd give them a go...Mind you, there is already a 'tweak' in the making, I don't have any breadcrumbs, and the only loaf I have is a fresh one that I made yesterday, so I shall be coating mine in fine matzo meal instead.





So here it is from March 2012 Delicious Magazine...
...Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Crispy Pancakes...
(with a slight tweak by me!)
Makes: 8 pancakes.
Takes: 40mins to make, 45mins to cook.
For this recipe you need 8 pancakes about 15cm in size...


...the pancake recipe I use is a pretty standard one:


250g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
500ml milk
pinch of salt


This should make about 16 pancakes, so enough for dinner and dessert!!! However, I halved this and just made the 8...that way we get fresh batter for dessert...


Now true to form I have made a few 'tweaks' here and there, but only because I have fussy people in my house!!! My additions/alterations are marked in italic and bold...and I don't want to brag etc, but with the white sauce, where I have 'guessed' it's because I make a lot of sauces, and know how much flour/butter etc based on spoons I use...


The filling ingredients are:
2 Tbsp olive oil (I used 1Tbsp- found it was plenty)
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped (I only had dried)
2 free-range chicken breasts, diced into 1cm cubes (I also added 100g smoked bacon medallions - as they would appeal to the small people in my house!!)
25g butter (I guessed)
200g button mushrooms, quartered
30g plain flour (I used 1 Tbsp-ish)
350ml milk (I only used 300ml)
splash of double cream (I used 2 splashes!!)
good grating of nutmeg
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
The Coating ingredients:
3 medium eggs, beaten (I used 2 large)
150g fresh, fine breadcrumbs (I'm using the fine matzo)
pinch of ground turmeric (I'm not using any)
Veg oil for frying


Method:
First off, make the sauce in time for it to cool right down before filling the pancakes...

1. Heat the olive oil, add shallots and garlic, cook until softened, 8-10mins. Turn up the heat add chicken and fry it off, about 5-6 mins. Transfer to a bowl. I misread the instructions and started to fry my chicken before realising...so I just added the shallots and garlic and carried on...then added my bacon just as chicken was almost cooked through! 
2. Add a knob of butter to the pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat for 2-3 mins, then add them to the bowl with the chicken mix. Melt 25g butter in the pan and add the flour. Cook for 2 mins, then gradually add the milk, stirring to make a smooth, thick sauce. Bring to the boil, then bubble for 1 min to thicken and cook out the flour. Add the cream, nutmeg and lemon zest and seasoning. 
3. Add the chicken mix to the sauce, stir and then leave to cool down. It thickens slightly as it cools.




Make the pancakes in a pan about 15cm diameter, also allow to cool, by layering between sheets of greaseproof paper on a cooling rack. With everything cool, it makes assembling a lot easier!










Any leftover batter can be cooked and eaten as cook's perks!!













So now we have the components, we just have to put it all together!












4. Put a pancake on a flat board, and spoon 2-3 Tbsp of the filling mixture into the middle. brush the edges of the pancake with beaten egg, fold in half and press the edges to seal. Repeat with all the pancakes and mixture. 
I found it easier to do all 8 at the same time, so that I could portion out the filling equally!! It was a bit like crimping Cornish Pasties...One word of advice though, if you have the time, leave the egg to dry a little and stick firmer before coating in egg and breadcrumbs/Matzo...













5. Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/fan 160c. 
Put the breadcrumbs (Matzo for me!) in a wide flat dish and mix in turmeric and fresh, ground black pepper. Carefully coat each filled pancake in beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs (or Matzo!). This is a messy step! I always try to keep one hand wet and one dry for the coating...However, it was tricky here as the pancakes become quite floppy once dipped in the egg!! To firm them up I put mine in the fridge for about 30mins before going on to the next step.
 6. Heat a layer of oil in a large frying pan, and fry the pancakes in batches for 2-3 mins each side until golden.
Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 mins. 
Serve with a green salad or seasonal veg...


**Can be frozen!! The magazine says that to freeze you need to stop at step 5...as in coat but don't cook...The coated, uncooked pancakes can then be frozen on a baking sheet, once firm, store them between sheets of baking paper in a sealed container...to cook, defrost fully and continue from step 6 above...




We had ours with buttered new potatoes and steamed green beans and tender stem broccoli...but in our haste to eat, I forgot to take a full plate shot...but at least I managed to show the lovely saucy inside...
And the verdict...? The 2 smallish people asked for less lemon next time...which is great, as it means they want them again...personally I also think a little less lemon zest and maybe tarragon instead of the thyme...? You know me...I'm a "cheeky tweaker!!"


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