Swede/Rutabaga, chorizo and thyme savoury crepes with cheese sauce (serves 2-3)

Rutabaga/swede may not be the first vegetable you think of for a savoury crepe filling, but paired with the Mediterranean flavours of thyme and chorizo, it makes a surprisingly delicious meal.

1 swede/rutabaga (about 1kg), peeled and grated
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup dried chorizo sausage, diced
olive oil
2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp dried thyme (more if using fresh)
salt and pepper

1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
240ml milk
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp plain flour
about 200ml milk
1/4 cup grated Manchego cheese (or other hard, sharp cheese)
smoked paprika (optional)


Start by preparing the pancake batter.  If using an electric beater, place all the ingredients in the bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to ensure that there are no lumps.  If using a whisk, sift the flour into a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and thyme and pour the liquid into the flour.  Whisk vigorously until everything is thoroughly mixed and there are no lumps.  If you are feeling like a perfectionist, strain the batter into a jug to remove any stray lumps (I didn't and my pancakes were lump-free!  If yo are going to strain, though, add the thyme after straining.).  Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a little olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Then add the grated swede and continue to sauté for about 10 minutes on medium heat.  Add a little liquid and the stock powder if the pan starts to dry out and stir well to mix.  Cook until all the liquid has evaporated, then add the chopped chorizo and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so until the chorizo has released its lovely red oil and coloured the swede.  Season with thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

To make the cheese sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Gradually stir in the flour to make a smooth paste.  When all the butter has been absorbed, allow to cook for a few more minutes until the mixture darkens slightly.  Stir in the milk a little at a time, stirring or whisking continuously to make sure there are no lumps.  If your sauce is too thick, add a little more milk.  Stir in the grated cheese and continue stirring until it has all melted.  Check for seasoning and add salt to taste as well as a pinch of smoked paprika if you feel that way inclined.

To make the pancakes, heat a non-stick frying pan (or moisten a paper towel with a little sunflower oil and rub all over an ordinary frying pan and heat).  Make sure you use a pan that has a rounded shape, not a 90 degree straight angle between the base and the sides. When the pan is hot, pour a ladleful of the batter onto the base and swirl the pan around till the batter coats the base - the thinner the better!  Cook until lots of little bubbles appear on the top surface and the edges start to brown.  Loosen the pancake from the base of the pan with a gentle shake.  Place an egg-lifter underneath the pancake and flip it over, cook for a minute or so, then remove to a warm plate.

Once you have finished all your batter and made your pancakes, assemble.  Place a pancake on a warmed plate, spoon about 2 serving spoons of the swede filling on to it.  Carefully roll up.  Repeat with the other pancakes until all have been filled.  Plate each person's pancakes, pour some of the sauce over the pancakes and garnish with more smoked paprika.  Serve hot with a green salad.

Another great recipe from http://www.cooksister.com
© J Horak-Druiff 2010