Monday, 20 February 2017

Ham, Cheese & Belgian Endive in Buckwheat Crepes with Mushroom Sauce

Admittedly this is a bit complicated; not an everyday dish by any means. However it would be ideal for entertaining, as the crepes and the sauce can both be made in advance, leaving the assembly and baking for just before serving, and both of those are very straightforward. 

Note that I first list the crepes under "Finish the Crepes" but they need to be made ahead of time. They can be done a day ahead if you like, and kept wrapped in the fridge until needed. Heat the sauce (in the microwave is easiest) until it's just hot enough to spread easily. The number of crepes used is not a full recipe, but with a full recipe you should have no trouble getting the number of nicely formed ones that you need. Leftover crepes are very easily disposed of, after all.

The number of servings depends on whether people will eat one filled crepe or two; and that in turn depends on appetites and what else is being served. I'm inclined to think a nice crisp salad is what is needed to finish this off.

3 to 6 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 45 minutes prep time
not including making the crepes

Ham, Cheese & Belgian Endive in Buckwheat Crepes with Mushroom Sauce

Make the Mushroom Sauce:
300 grams white mushrooms
3 to 4 large shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed thyme or savory
1 cup ham or chicken stock
1 cup light cream

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Peel and mince the shallots. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat; when melted add the shallots and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Sprinkle the flour and seasonings over the mushrooms and shallots and mix in well; cook for a minute or two longer. Slowly mix in the stock, stirring well to prevent lumps, and simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Mix in the cream and continue stirring and cooking until thickened once more. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Finish the Crepes:
1 recipe buckwheat crepes, made ahead
 - you actually need 6 to 8 crepes
6 to 8 medium or 3 to 4 large heads of Belgian endive
6 to 8 slices smoked ham
3 to 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
8 ounces smoked Cheddar or Gruyere
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a pot of water on to boil, and blanch the endives for 2 minutes. Rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking and drain them well.

Spoon a little sauce into a 9" x 13" shallow baking (lasagne) pan and spread it out.

Take a crepe, and lay a piece of ham in the middle. Trim an endive, and slice it in half. Use half an endive or a whole one per crepe, depending on their size. Lay the endive piece(s) across the ham to cover most of the crepe from side to side. Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar. Add the cheese, sliced to cover the ham and endive from side to side. Spoon over a little of the mushrooms sauce. Basically, you are placing a rectangle of fillings across the middle of the crepe, with the ham no doubt spreading out further. Roll up the crepe - I didn't bother to tuck in the sides - and place it in the prepared baking pan, snuggly against one short end.

Repeat with the remaining crepes and fillings until they are all done and the pan is full. Try to use about half of the mushroom sauce in this process, reserving the rest to spread over the top. Spread the remaining sauce over the top, and sprinkle it evenly with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling.

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