Chicken and Broccoli Crepes

A few years ago when my sister and I were roommates, we decided to have a crepe party. We didn't have any definite ideas for the party beyond crepes, fruit, whipped cream and puddings, but we went ahead and invited friends over. What else do you really need for a party besides good food and good company? 

Our friend Elary was one of the first to arrive, and she came bearing chicken, broccoli and ricotta cheese. We looked at her dumbfounded. It's not that we didn't appreciate the gesture, but we weren't sure if we had been clear that this was a crepe party. What on earth was she expecting us to do with those? In the meantime, she was staring at our assortment of sweet fillings wondering, "Did I accidentally come to a dessert party?" 

The beauty of crepes is that they work so well for both sweet and savory fillings. Once we cleared up the confusion that my sister and I thought crepes were just an excuse to eat whipped cream and fruit for dinner, and that Elary thought they were an elegant way to wrap up a a vegetable/meat/cheese mixture, we had a great time introducing each other to our favorite ways to eat them. Neither way could be declared the "best" because they were both so good. 

This recipe is similar to the one that Elary made for us. If you have leftover crepes (see this post for instructions on how to make some) then it goes together very quickly. (If you are crepe challenged, you can sometimes find packages of crepes in the produce or bakery section of the grocery store. I think I've also seen them in the refrigerated section by the eggs, too.) They are the perfect, delicate layer to bake the ricotta/chicken mixture in. The sauce described in the recipe is great poured over the top of the crepes before serving or just pooled on each side. If you are short on time you could skip it, but I like the flavor it adds. If you've never had savory crepes before, I highly recommend you give them a try.

Note: If you are interested in participating in an online bake sale to support the OC Walk to Remember, an organization the provides support to families who are dealing with the loss of an infant, please contact Dana at The Sunday Sweet. Or just stay tuned and see how you can bid on some of my favorite cookies - blueberries and cream.

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes

3 T unsalted butter, plust more for the dish 
2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives or mint)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 crepes (about 8 inches. See this post for directions on how to make crepes. Otherwise you can often buy them in the produce or bakery section of the grocery store.)
1 shallot, sliced (or 2 T minced onion)
1/2 head of broccoli, cut into small crowns
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a large baking dish. Combine the chicken ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, 3 T herbs, 3/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a medium bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling across the lower half of each crepe; roll up to enclose the filling. Place the crepes, seam-side down, in the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until the filling is hot, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt 3 T butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until it softens, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest and the remaining 1 T herbs and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the crepes among plates, adding broccoli and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Recipe Source: Food Network Magazine

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