Meat Stuffed Crepes Crisped up in Butter
Growing up in Ukraine, a looong time ago, I remember my mom making Nalisniki (that’s what Slavic folks call crepes) stuffed with meat. She had this pre-historic looking pan that she used only for crepes. Every time she used it, she would tell us how this is a special pan and it can not be scratched, otherwise the crepes will start sticking to it. I remember her taking a ladle with a cream colored plastic handle, pour the batter right in the middle of the pan and then quickly swirl it around, coating the bottom with the batter. Then she would take the crepe out and place it into a tall stack. She made the crepes neither thick or thin. They were just the right thickness. Then she would lay out the crepes on a table, in an assembly like fashion, where the crepes overlapped each other with only one half. Every time she did this, she would tell us that she learned this trick while working her first job at the diner for military officers. Next, she would take the meat stuffing, put it a tablespoon on the exposed half of the crepe and start rolling them one by one. Once all the crepes were filled and rolled my mom would then take the skillet out again, put a dab of butter in the middle and brown the soft, stuffed pockets until golden and crisp. Me and my sister would already sit at the table with a plate, fork, and a jar of thick but creamy sour cream that we bought at the market, in anticipation of a warm delicious crepe being transferred from the skillet right onto our plates. Oh the memories!
This recipe might not be the same one she used when we were little, but every time I make them, I still remember my childhood and my moms Nalisniki. It almost feels like I am reliving the moment.
So I hope you give them a try and start making your own memories, may be with your own kids, or may be even grandkids.
This is the same recipe I shared a while ago on Facebook, but that time I talked about the cheese filling that pairs so wonderfully with these crepes, so today, I will tell you about a savory version of the stuffed crepes we Ukrainians call – Nalisniki.
Meat Stuffed Crepes Crisped up in Butter
- 10 eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups flour
- 4 cups milk (1 liter)
- 50 milliliters oil
- ½ lbs Chicken Liver
- ½ lbs Chicken Thighs
- 1 medium onion, peeled, cubed
- 3-4 tablespoons cream or broth
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together eggs, sugar, salt and flour until all flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth, with no flour lumps, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer still running on low speed, start adding the milk, stopping and scraping the bottom of the bowl, until full amount of milk is added. Once the batter looks smooth add the oil and mix for another minute or two. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes (it can easily stay in the fridge for a couple of hours if needed), letting the flour fully absorb the moisture. (Meanwhile, you can prepare the filling)
- Take the batter out of the fridge, quickly stir with a spoon for about 20 seconds.
- Put a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and let it heat up. With a ladle or a measuring cup, pour the batter in the middle of the skillet and quickly swirl the it around letting the batter completely cover the bottom. The skillet should be covered in a thin layer of batter. Depending on how much batter you put, you’ll end up with either thick or thin crepes. Take a stick of butter, uncover half of it, then take the butter, touching the covered part, and quickly run it around the inner side of the skillet. Cover with lid. Cook for about 30-40 seconds. It is done when there is no visible, runny batter on the top.
- Run a thin spatula around the crape, freeing it from the skillet. Quickly invert the crepe onto a round plate. If it doesn’t come off right away, just give it a couple of seconds.
To make meat filling:
- Boil the chicken liver in a pot with water until cooked, constantly skimming the top, about 5 minutes after the water comes to a boil.
- To cook chicken thighs, place the meat in a pot, cover with water and let cook until meat is tender.
- Pass the chicken thighs and liver though a grinder or food processor.
- Sautee the onion in a skillet with some oil until golden, then add the sautéed onions to the meat mixture.
- Add salt & pepper to taste. Add enough cream or broth to make the filling somewhat moist, but not runny.
- Turn the crepes browned side down, place a tablespoon of filling at the end closer to yourself and spread it out a little. Flip the left side towards the middle then the opposite. Now fold the crepe 2-3 times away from yourself.
- Place a dab of butter in a skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Place the crepes folded side down and brown on each side until golden and crisp.
- Serve right away with a spoon of sour cream that’s thinned out with some cream.
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Nalisniki with Meat (from Facebook)
For the filling
- Cottage/Farm cheese, about 1.5 lbs
- Heavy cream, about ¾ cup
- Sugar, ½ cup
- Vanilla Extract, 2 tablespoons
- Poppy seeds (optional)
For the topping,
- Condensed Milk
- Jam of Choice
- Sour Cream+Sugar
To make Nalisniki/Crepes
- Mix all the ingredients together with a mixer or by hand, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency with whip cream and sweetness with sugar.
- Invert the stack of crepes onto a different plate, and start filling the crepes by putting a big spoon of cheese filling and smoothing it out along the middle strip of the crepe. Fold the right and left side of the crepe into the middle and then make 4 folds from yourself to the end of the crepe, forming it into a neat rectangle.
- You can serve them as is, topped with condensed milk of with any topping of your choice or put a tablespoon of butter into a pan, heat it to medium-high and fry nalisniki on each side, until golden. This will give it a very light crispiness, that will last about 5 minutes, so serve right away.
If you like your crepes thin and small, decrease the flour amount from 3 cups, to 2 cups and make sure to leave the batter additional 30 minutes in the fridge, otherwise your crepes will tear when trying to get them out of the pan