I’ve wanted to start making crepes. I’ve been pouring through recipes trying to refresh myself on how to make them. The other day I was having my car maintenance done while watching The Chew in the waiting room. Low and behold, Michael Symon was making crepes into a layered meat lasagne with Bechamel sauce! Was I living right that day or what? So this article is in homage to Michael for showing me step by step how to make perfect crepes.
Being from Cleveland with parents who are Greek and Sicilian, Michael was raised with great foods and know how. He cooks with bold flavors and satisfying hearty dishes at his four restaurants Lola, Lolita, Roast, and B Spot, one of the top burger restaurants in the country.
As a regular host on the Food Channel, Michael puts his signature on any of his recipes he shares with the audience. This is a hearty, beefy dish full of flavors bursting in every bite. It is also a very large, manly portion. You can cut this in half. If you don’t have crepes or don’t want to make crepes, then you can substitute crepes with pasta or you can bake this as a casserole. I love the cinnamon with meat. I use it with lamb and bison as well because it gives a subtle spicy note in the after taste. See below his recipe ingredients:
- For the meat sauce:
- Olive Oil
- 2 pounds ground Sirloin ( I used Bison or lamb)
- 2 cups Onion (small dice)
- 2 Garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Oregano
- 3 cups San Marzano Tomatoes (crushed; about 1 26-ounce can) (I actually eliminated these since I can’t eat cooked tomatoes, and it is still awesome!)
- For the Bechamel Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 2 cups 2% Milk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- freshly ground Pepper
- 1 1/2 cup Parmesan
I’m going to paraphrase his recipe. If you want to see his exact one, go to The Chew website and type in Michael Symon Crepes Lasagne.
Meat Sauce: Heat the oil in a sauté pan up to medium. When the pan is hot, I sauté the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes, then add the meat. I sauté the meat till brown. Bison is very lean so no fat should result. Same with Lamb. If the beef is too oily, then I would try to pour out or blot the fatty oil. Then I would add the cinnamon and nutmeg, stir, and simmer a minute before adding the tomatoes and simmering for 10 minutes. Set aside when done.
For Bechamel: I simply melt the butter in a medium heat sauce pan, add flour and stir with wooden spoon till all butter is absorbed. Then slowly add the milk while stirring until it is all incorporated. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow the sauce to thicken while stirring over a five minute period, maybe longer depending on your stove. Once thickened, then add the parmesan cheese. Set aside off the hot stove.
Preheat oven to 375. In a 9×9 baking dish, or similar size, layer bottom with 1/3 meat mixure. Layer 4-5 crepes over the meat so that the meat is covered with round crepe cylinders. Layer with Bechamel then top with meat. Layer crepes again add Bechamel and meat. Layer crepes and top with Bechamel and any additional cheese if you wish.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until bubbling. Makes excellent leftovers!
Here is the crepe recipe from The Chew. What I love about crepes is they can be stored for weeks and can be used many ways. They save cooking time once made, so I make a lot so they are available for quick meals.
Ingredients for Crepes:
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour, 4 Eggs, 2 cups Whole Milk, 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, pinch of Salt
Preparing the Crepes: Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine. Add the milk bit by bit and whisk to combine until all the milk is incorporated. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and allow the batter to stand for 10 minutes to an hour.
Butter (to oil crepe pan)
Heat a 6-inch nonstick pan over high heat until hot and add a dab of butter. Turn the heat down to medium and pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and swirl to coat. Cook until pale golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Flip and cook just 5 or 10 seconds on the second side. Remove and set aside. Continue the process until all the batter has been used. Keep warm on a plate and cover with a warm towel.
The trick to these is put only about 2 tablespoons of batter in the pan, swirl it, and let it set. Then flip. The common error is to put too much batter which results in a crepe too thick. Go against your intuition and put less than you think.