Our move got pushed up to this Saturday, so I have just a couple days to get our 3 bedroom house all packed up and ready. As you can imagine, I am packing, packing, packing, sometimes eating, getting a little bit of sleep, and packing, packing, packing! 🙂 This is one of the reasons I am so super blessed to have Sue from birgerbird come do a guest post for me!
Sue is such a sweetie! She is fun and spunky and oh so creative! Fig Mint Pesto?! Wow! Now that is what I call creative! ❤ it!! If you haven’t already, you will definitely want to check out her blog! The food she creates is amazing!
Now, for the woman of the hour….
I am so honored to cook these Breton Style Buckwheat Crepes (Gluten Free) with you for my friend Lori, whose blog I am so enjoying getting to know. I love that Lori has been totally transformed as a cook, by surprise. She is a gift to our little blogging community. I just hope she likes crepes!
When I was living in San Francisco there was a wonderful tiny creperie called Ti Couz in the neighborhood adjacent to mine. All they served was Breton-style buckwheat crepes, hard cider, some wine and beers, and an occasional onion soup and simple salad. It was fun to take a walk over to Valencia Street and pretend I was in France. The majority of the seating was at the “counter” where you could dine anonymously by yourself and watch the crepe doctors at their craft. Last time I was in “the City” I was sad to learn that Ti Couz said goodbye in 2011.
I then went over 20 years without eating a proper buckwheat crepe. But just last month, on my wedding anniversary, I decided to sneak down to my husband’s work and surprise him with some flowers and, well I hadn’t planned it, but also a fresh, hot buckwheat crepe! Turns out that the farmers market near his job, where I stopped for the flowers, happens to have a genuine french crepe lady! Just one whiff of that delicious buckwheat crepe sent me back years, and also peaked my interest in making a really good one at home.
Buckwheat happens to be a really nutritious fruit seed, related to rhubarb & sorrel and not at all related to wheat or other grains in any way. Known as “farine de sarrasin” in French, it”s high in phytonutrients, minerals, B vitamins, and is a superior source of protein than many grains. It’s also really satisfying and helps control blood sugar. It has a very distinct aroma with notes of muskiness. I like it either toasted raw and added to dishes as a crunchy condiment (“buckwheat’s”) or I’ll use the flour, which lends a very nutty and delicious flavor to baked goods. Something about straight-up cooked buckwheat does not jive with me.
Because buckwheat four is completely gluten-free, you have to work it pretty vigorously, either by hand mixer or stand mixer. Don’t just whisk or stir as if with a regular crepe or pancake mix, you’ll be left with crepe that tears and breaks at the faintest breeze from your kitchen window. It won’t be beauty in the kitchen, know what I mean? If you are not totally gluten-intolerant, I would advise adding a handful of all purpose flour to the mix to make it more pliable.
By really working the batter you are actually gelatinizing the starches in the buckwheat which help make the mix hold together better. After that let it rest in the fridge to fully hydrate the flour. The final mix should have the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken during the resting time and then you can thin it out with a bit more water before cooking. A thinner mix produces a lacy, beautifully patterned galette which has a toasty, warm buckwheat flavor. A thicker mix will be easier to flip, more uniform in color and a bit heavier, obviously.
Traditionally galettes in Brittany are served with a number of savory fillings, often ham, cheese, or ratatouille, as well as some good hard cider. A nice fresh egg cracked over the top is the most classic finish to a true “Galette Complete”, whether you put ham, spinach, cheese, tomato, mushrooms or ratatouille inside. For this post I created 2 galettes — one with sautéed red cabbage, scallions, arugula and a fried egg; the other, with a sort of chicken korma made with yoghurt, pistachio, poached cinnamon chicken and green beans. Here is the master recipe for the crepes as well as the chicken kind-of korma crepe. The red cabbage crepe is just a very informal, loose recipe that you can adapt based upon whatever delicious vegetables you have on hand.
Because we’re all about creating beauty in the kitchen here, I opted not to share photographs of the batter or crepe cooking in process. It gets messy guys.
Master Recipe for Buckwheat Crepes
- 2 c buckwheat flour
- 1 egg (optional if you want vegan)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 c beer (optional)
- 4 c water (plus one or two more cups)
- In a large mixing bowl or Kitchen Aid bowl, place your ingredients and mix thoroughly for at least 5 minutes. If you don’t want to add beer, don’t, it’s not necessary, but you could add a bit of seltzer water in its place for added lightness. Add water until the mix has the consistency of heavy cream. You want the batter to have a nice satiny sheen. Transfer to a container and let rest in the fridge 30 minutes to a few hours.
- Heat a heavy skillet, non-stick pan, or crepe pan over medium heat, then grease with plain oil. Rub the oil to a thin, even coat with a folded-up paper towel, then ladle the batter into the pan, turning with your wrist as you pour to evenly spread the mix. This is not easy at first (the mix pours slowly since it’s a bit heavier than a white-flour crepe mix). Spread with a thin spatula if that helps. Let the galette set and start to brown, then put about 1/2 t of butter in the pan and flip to cook the other side, about 2 minutes per side. You can continue to cook galettes in this way, and pile them up on top of one another on a dinner plate. This can be done in advance, and then you can finish them in the pan later with everyone’s preferred fillings and serve them hot.
- 2 cups poached chicken. I poached a whole chicken with a cinnamon stick and an onion. You can of course substitute roasted chicken or grilled chicken if you wish.
- 1 1/2 cups coconut yoghurt, strained in double cheesecloth over a strainer and saucepan for 1 hour. Alternatively, you could use greek yoghurt.
- 1 cup pistachios, divided in half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 onion ( I used the onion that poached alongside the chicken but you could use a roasted or sautéed onion)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup cooked green beans
- Combine yogurt, 1/2 cup pistachios, salt ad pepper, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and blend until it is the consistency of a nice curry sauce or korma sauce. Thin as needed with water. Correct seasoning.
- Gently warm the sauce in a large saucepan and add your chicken and green beans.
- Place a portion of the chicken mixture onto a crepe and fold as desired. Sprinkle with more plain yoghurt if you like and with pistachios. Enjoy!
These are so lovely Sue! I can only imagine how great they taste! I loved hearing the story behind them too! They sound fantastic!
For more wonderful recipes from this lovely lady, go HERE!