Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Mushroom and Spinach Pancakes with Goats Cheese

I was planning to make a mushroom and goats cheese pizza or calzone this week, but today I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was Pancake Day! It's not as celebrated here as in the UK - probably because cooking a stack of pancakes on a hot stove when it's 40C outside is not a smart move. It's unusually cool this summer - just 28C this evening - so it wasn't too hot to make pancakes instead.

I googled for a recipe to convert my pizza topping into crepe filling, and stumbled across a lovely blog, Closet Cooking, which appears to be run by a guy called Kevin, cooking in a kitchen the size of a closet. I remember those days well! I love using blog recipes because they're made by real people, with real ingredients, and usually around the time constraints of a real job and in a real kitchen. So you know that it's doable in a sensible amount of time, and you're not going to find that the whole thing depends on some obscure ingredient or kitchen implement. So I followed Kevin's excellent recipe for yummy vegetarian savoury filling for whole-wheat pancakes, and they were spot-on. I did change just a couple of things so I've reblogged the recipe with my changes. My only mistake was not tripling the batter so that I'd have to make sweet pancakes :)

For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 500g mushrooms
  • a few sprigs of thyme, stripped to their leaves
  • 250g frozen chopped spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 splash dry sherry, or splash white wine + 1tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 6 wholewheat crepes
  • 1 large handful goat cheese, crumbled

For the pancakes (makes 6):
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup plain white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Set your spinach defrosting (in the microwave or on the hob).

Whisk all the batter ingredients together to create the pancake batter and start making crepes. You'll probably find that the chaff of the wholewheat flour sinks to the bottom, so try to ladle up the lower layer occasionally, and add a little water toward the end if you find that the batter becomes too thick.

Drain the spinach well, in a sieve. Crush it a bit with your hands to get all the water out.

Finely chop the onion and gently fry until soft and turning golden, about 8 minutes. Slice the mushrooms thinly. Crush the garlic and add it, the butter, the mushrooms and the thyme to the onions, then sweat for a further 6-10 minutes, until the mushrooms have let out their liquid. Add the spinach and season well with pepper, and a little salt; warm through. Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan - it takes a couple of minutes.

Fold the crepes into little pockets and scoop in the filling, tucking in crumbled goats cheese as you go. Drizzle over the balsamic reduction and serve!

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