Makes4 to 6 servings
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturecheesy, creamy, meaty, rich, savory
Type of Dishcasserole
- 2 cups white and dark meat from poached chicken, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups Sauce Suprême, made with chicken broth (recipe below)
- 12 savory crêpes
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken or veal stock
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the Sauce Suprême:
Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-bottomed 1 ½-quart saucepan. This can be of any suitable material such as stainless steel with an aluminum core, enameled cast iron, lined copper, heatproof porcelain, or Corning Ware. Uncoated iron and aluminum are not recommended as they may discolor a white sauce that contains wine or egg yolks.
Mix the flour into the melted butter with a wooden spatula or spoon and cook slowly, stirring all the time, for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the roux of butter and flour is well blended and frothy. This initial cooking removes the starchy taste of the flour. Gradually stir in the hot liquid—when the liquid is hot there is less likelihood of the sauce lumping, but you should also stir vigorously while adding it to thoroughly mix the liquid and the roux. Or you may, if you prefer, remove the pan from the heat while adding the liquid, which makes it easier to control the thickening of the sauce as the flour absorbs the liquid. Return to the heat as soon as the liquid is mixed in.
Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spatula or a wire whisk, until the sauce is smooth, thick, and at the boiling point. Let the sauce simmer, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Many people tell you to use white pepper in a white sauce, but I am against this. The flavor of black pepper is so much better. If you do see a fleck or two of black in the sauce, so what? I also think a little touch of freshly grated (not ready-ground) nutmeg improves the flavor of a white sauce, but this is for you to decide.
Enrich the finished sauce with cream and egg yolks. Lightly beat 3 egg yolks and mix with 1 cup heavy cream. Stir a little of the hot béchamel sauce into the mixture, to warm and temper the yolks (prepare them for the shock of the heat), then stir the yolk mixture into the sauce. Reheat, but do not let the sauce get too hot or boil or the yolks will curdle.
For the Chicken Crêpes:
Mix the chicken cubes into the sauce and heat in a pan over very low heat until thoroughly warmed through. Do not overheat or the sauce will curdle. Rub an 8 x 11-inch baking dish with softened butter. Spread the crêpes flat on a board or the countertop, paler side up. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling on each crêpe, fairly near the edge closes tot you; roll the crepe up carefully and place it in the buttered dish, seam side down. Continue until you have used up all the crêpes and most of the chicken mixture, pushing the crêpes close together so they don’t unroll. Put the remaining chicken and sauce back on the heat, stir in the heavy cream, and let is warm though. Pour this over the rolled crêpes and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Just before you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375°F. Put the dish on the center shelf of the oven and bake until the crêpes are heather through and the cheese melted, about 15 minutes. Serve the crêpes on hot places, 2 or 3 per serving. As a main course, serve with a vegetable, such as broccoli, or a green salad and crisp French bread.
Variation: Quick Cannelloni: Spread the crêpes with a think layer of ricotta cheese; top with a tablespoon of poached, skinned, and shredded Italian sweet or hot sausages, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, and a little freshly ground black pepper. Roll up, and put into a backing dish. Cover the rolled crêpes with 1 cup tomato sauce, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and heat as above.
1977 James Beard