In this last Mardi Gras themed blog, I’m featuring Julia Child’s Chicken and Mushroom Roulades from The Way to Cook. Roulades are type of crêpe dish. If you’re wondering what in the world this has to do with Mardi Gras, the answer is “pancakes!”
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is referred to as “Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday” because of the tradition of eating pancakes on that day. Pancakes are associated with the day before the beginning of Lent because they are a way of using up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.
If you’re still be wondering how Chicken and Mushroom Roulades relates to Pancake Tuesday, the answer is “crêpes” around which the chicken and mushroom filling is enclosed! Crêpes are very thin pancakes. One of the Master Taste Tester’s many talents is flipping the crêpes high into the air while they are cooking – learned as a small boy in the kitchen while his mother was not looking!
Starting with the crêpes then, the ingredients included milk, egg, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, and flour. To make it easier to actually pour the batter, I combined all of the ingredients into a 2-cup measuring cup, and whisked the mixture until it was smooth. This is where the Master Taste Tester came in. He heated a 7-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat, added some of the crêpe batter and swirled the pan to evenly coat the bottom. After the batter was set, the Master Taste Tester fliped the crêpe to turn it to the uncooked side. It’s actually quite fun to see him skillfully flip crêpe after crêpe.
With the crêpes done, my job of making the filling began. I started by making a cheese sauce, which is basically a white sauce with cheese added. The ingredients included unsalted butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and grated Gruyère cheese. After melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, I whisked in the flour. Once the butter/flour mixture was smooth, I added the milk and whisked the sauce over medium heat until thickened. I seasoned the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and finished it off with grated Gruyère cheese.
I started by simmering the sliced onion in a large skillet with Vermouth and chicken broth for about 10 minutes, until they were tender and translucent. Then I added the mushrooms, covered the pan, and cooked the mixture for about 2 minutes, during which the mushrooms rendered their juices. I folded in the diced raw chicken, seasoned the mixture lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper, covered the pan again, and let it simmer for about a minute. I uncovered the pan, increased the heat to high, and let the mixture boil rapidly until most of the liquid had evaporated. This took about 4 minutes. Then, I folded in just enough of the cheese sauce to bind the ingredients. Before moving to the next step, I tasted the filling in case the seasonings needed correction. It was perfect, at least for my taste.
To make the roulades, I took each crêpe, and added about ¼-cup of the filling to one end. I then carefully rolled it up, and placed it in a baking dish, seam side down. I repeated the process with the remaining crêpes, making a total of five. Then, I spooned the remaining filling over the top, followed by the remaining cheese sauce. I finished the dish off with a sprinkling of grated Gruyère cheese.
1 medium onion sliced, (about 1½ cups)
⅓ cup dry white Vermouth
⅓ cup low sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed, dried and sliced
2 skinless and boneless raw chicken breast halves (about 16 ounces), diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⅓ cups Cheese Sauce (recipe follows)
5 to 6 crêpes (recipe follows)
¼ cup (1 ounce) grated Gruyère cheese
For the filling: Simmer the onions in a large skillet with Vermouth and chicken broth for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and translucent. Stir in the mushrooms, cover the pan, and let cook 2 minutes while they render their juices. Fold the diced raw chicken into the mushrooms and onions, season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper; cover the pan again, and let simmer 1 minute. Uncover the pan and boil rapidly uncovered until all liquid has almost evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in just enough of the cheese sauce to bind the ingredients, ½ to ¾ cups. Taste carefully and correct the seasonings.
Forming the Roulades: Place about ¼ cup of filling on the bottom third of each crêpe – on the under and less attractive side. Roll into a fat sausage shape, and place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining filling over crêpes, then spoon remaining cheese sauce. Sprinkle on grated Gruyère.
Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 25 minutes, or until bubbling hot and the cheese has browned lightly on top. Yield: 3 to 4 servings.
1 large egg
½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon sugar
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
Beat egg, milk salt, vegetable oil and sugar in mixing bowl with a whisk until blended. Add flour; whisk until smooth. If necessary add a little more milk to make a thin batter. When ready to make crêpes, spray a 7-inch non-stick frying pan with vegetable oil spray. Heat over medium high heat until hot. Pour 3 Tablespoons batter into pan; quickly tilt to make a thin layer. Brown lightly on both sides. Yield: 6 crêpes.
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1¼ cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup grated Gruyère cheese
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the flour; stir to form a roux. Add the milk; heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add salt and pepper. Add the cheese; stir constantly until the cheese has completely melted. Correct the seasonings. Note: The sauce will be quite thick.