23nd February 2012
Shrove Thursday

Pancake what-day?
Well - Annick thinks it's Pancake Thursday, so that's what we're going for this year. Snot the same without kids anyhow. Unless you count Flora :)

Annick organised a Breton pancake party, which seem to be the same things as crêpes to me. Which is to say, pancakes which are cooked with their toppings in the frying pan at the end.
Annick had prepared a vast selection of cheeses, ham, tomatoes, cooked onions and mushrooms to choose from. And that was just for the savoury course.
She'd also gotten some goose eggs (or really big duck eggs) from a local farm so we had a couple of our pancakes with a sunny-side-up massive fried egg on top. They were absolutely delicious. And massive. With massive yolks
Apparently it's common in Brittany to have an egg cooked miroir on top of your crêpe (or rather galette - if you're using buckwheat), but you'd need astonishingly thin pancakes for that to work, and a normal-sized egg too. So we fried ours separately.
Did I mention how big the eggs were?

Hardly necessary for me to bring some extra toppings then, but I did anyway.
For one thing I've been wanting to invent something combining chocolate and mushrooms and this seemed like a good opportunity.
For another I quite fancied some prawns and I know that Annick has a horror of all maritime comestibles. Which is a bit sad for a sailor.

For pudding pancakes we had Nutella, strawberries, bananas, lemon juice and sugar to choose amongst.
Not surprisingly few of us made it to pudding!

Annick went to the trouble of adding the toppings to the pancakes in the pan and cooking them there for a while - I quite like the way this melts the toppings into the pancakes, particularly the cheese. It's nice to have the sugar actually dissolved into the lemon juice rather than just crunching against your fillings, but it's quite a bit more faff.

I can't see it catching on.

Mine, Mine, Mine
With a bit of help.
Mushrooms in Chocolate Sauce
side sauce ingredient veg
I've been thinking about combining chocolate and mushrooms for a while now, and making a pancake filling seemed as good an opportunity as any to develop the idea.

I must admit I did spot this version on the intertubes, but I didn't fancy the red wine much, so I had a go at a whiter, cream-based gloopy version. Though I'm wondering if it might be better to do without the onion.

Serves 4

Sweat the onions and garlic until they soften without colouring. Add a pinch of chilli powder if you fancy some extra heat.
Add the stock with the whole Ancho chilli and simmer until the onions start to collapse - about 15 minutes. Chicken stock thickens the sauce more effectively, but a nice vegetable stock enriched with Marmite also worked.
Strain back in to the pan, add back the (cleaned) chilli, and reduce to about ½ cup.
Add the Madeira and reduce until it thickens to a coating consistency, leaving about 2 tablespoons.
Remove the chilli, and strain again if any of its seeds have escaped.
Remove from the heat, add the cream, then whisk in the grated chocolate (I used some 100% cacao for this).
Keep warm.

Wipe the mushrooms and quarter them, or slice them fatly. Fry quickly in a little butter until they brown nicely, mix with the sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.
Delicious. And well received. Even by the ladies!

First time around I blended up the onion and garlic with the liquids, and the flavour was very good but I didn't like the texture too much.
I think it's better to strain them out and simply reduce the stock and Madeira to thicken the sauce.

If you wanted to serve it as a side dish, rather than a pancake filling, you should just quarter the mushrooms. And I can testify that they go well with steak and potatoes. Probably chips too.

You need a little bit of chilli bite, but not too much, so adjust your chilli choices accordingly.
Using a whole chilli worked out about right heat-wise, but Ancho chilli powder needs a little extra kick.
I guess you could take or leave the cream.

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