I didn’t know much about Minnesota, beyond the cold winters before I moved here several years ago. I knew there was a large Scandinavian population, and assumed that foods like Swedish meatballs and pickled herring would be popular. (I was right.) Besides those two nuggets of information, I only knew that Minnesota was a land of wild rice.
It’s not as though other states don’t serve wild rice, but since it’s indigenous to the region, it only makes sense that we (yes, I think of myself as a Minnesotan now) have a special place in our hearts and on our plates for this highly nutritious grass seed.
Although I’ve had it served in many ways over the years, one of the most memorable came in the form of savory wild rice pancakes topped with wild mushrooms. There’s something about the distinctive nutty earthiness that pairs beautifully with mushrooms. That must be the reason the two are often swimming together in a bowl of creamy wild rice soup, which may be my second favorite way to serve it.
So when I was thinking about a way to serve this North Star state favorite, I naturally wanted to keep what seemed like a perfect marriage of flavors together. Hence Wild Rice Crêpes With Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese were born.
If the idea of making crêpes feels too intimidating, let me assure you that it’s much easier than you think. You don’t need a special pan; a simple nonstick skillet will do. All that separates a crêpe from a pancake is that crêpes have a thinner batter and you can only make one at a time.
You simply heat your skillet, brush it with a little oil, pour in a little batter and quickly tilt the skillet around so the batter forms a thin skin on the bottom of the pan. The crêpe will quickly begin to brown around the edges, at which point you just flip it over and let it cook for a moment on the other side before sliding it onto a plate. The whole process takes about 1 ½ minutes, so making eight crêpes is not a huge time commitment.
I will warn you, though, that your first crêpe is typically doomed to failure. It usually seems to fall apart. The second one almost always works perfectly, though. Fortunately, the recipe has enough batter for nine crêpes, although you may need only eight.
The creamy filling, packed with shredded chicken and sautéed mushrooms and finished with goat cheese, can be done while your crêpe batter is resting, making the whole process efficient and doable on a weeknight.
Trust me; any night you serve this dish will seem like a special occasion, even if it’s only a Tuesday.
Wild Rice Crêpes With Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Note: Everything you love about creamy wild rice soup, wrapped up in a golden brown, buttery crêpe. If short of time, you can find wild rice precooked or frozen at the market. Or plan to cook it ahead: It will take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of wild rice. From Meredith Deeds.
• 1 1/4 c. whole milk
• 2 eggs
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/4 c. cooked wild rice (see Note)
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
• 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
• 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
• 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 2 tbsp. flour
• 1 1/2 c. whole milk
• 1 1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken
• 3 oz. soft goat cheese
• 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
• 2 tbsp. chopped chives
Blend together 1 1/4 cups milk, eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in cooked wild rice. Let batter stand, covered, at room temperature 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes or until the onion is softened. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk and continue to cook until it comes to a simmer and thickens. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chicken and goat cheese. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the crêpes.
Line a plate with a square of waxed paper. Heat 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, then brush lightly with vegetable oil (you won’t need all the oil at once). Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into pan, tilting and rotating to coat bottom. Cook until underside is lightly browned, about 1 minute, then loosen crêpe with a heatproof plastic spatula and flip over. Cook crêpe until other side is lightly browned, about 1 minute, and transfer to wax-paper-lined plate. Top crêpe with another square of waxed paper. Make more crêpes with remaining batter, brushing pan lightly with oil as needed.
Fill each crêpe with about 1/3 cup of warm filling, roll up and garnish with sliced almonds and chives.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 710 Fat 44 g Sodium 890 mg
Carbohydrates 43 g Saturated fat 20 g Total sugars 12 g
Protein 36 g Cholesterol 210 mg Dietary fiber 3 g
Exchanges per serving: ½ milk, 1 veg., 2 starch, 3 ½ med-fat protein, 5 fat.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @meredithdeeds.