Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? For me, it’s not Christmas without my favorite holiday appetizer: chicken party purses, a festive mushroom and chicken crepe filled with creamy Boursin cheese, that we served every year at our annual Christmas party. Indulgent, savory, delicious…but so worth it and cleaned up with a gluten-free crepe batter recipe, too. The perfect Christmas party appetizer idea (it’s even shaped like a gift!), and a great way to start your own fun holiday tradition with your family and kids. More entertaining ideas, right this way.
Mine is a family of traditions. Summers were spent on Cape Cod digging for clams and slurping up fresh chowder from The Squire.
On Thanksgiving, we’d drive up to my aunt’s farm in Georgia for a delicious Southern meal of smoked turkey, creamed corn and mashed potatoes.
And every Christmas, for fifteen years, my parents and I hosted a formal dinner party for my girlfriends.
This was no ordinary Christmas party– and certainly no ordinary day at my family’s house.
For starters, I believe it was the only day of the year (for most of my childhood, that is) that I spent cooking with my mom. Though I’d like to play it off as reserving my cooking skills for this one day to make our time together that much more special, I think maybe (just maybe) I was just a lazy teenager who would sooner have someone else do the work. Sorry Mom!
Whatever the reason, every December 23rd–from the time I was eight until I graduated from college–my Mom and I would meet in the kitchen and spend the day together preparing a gourmet dinner for my closest friends.
Holiday Appetizer: Christmas Party Purses
Each year, the menu changed with the girls’ ever-evolving tastes. One year, we thought we’d be really fancy and serve blue-cheese-stuffed tenderloin. Needless to say, most of the ten-year-old girls at the table picked around it.
One year, someone didn’t like salad, another had given up meat for a semester, a third had recently decided she hated seafood (nothing like teenage girl “drama” to keep things interesting!).
But always, for all 15 years, the evening started with a Christmas Party Purse. A thin crepe stuffed with a creamy-as-velvet chicken filling and wrapped up and tied with a green onion bow, before being drizzled with a rich, cheesy sauce.
A dish so perfect for Christmas, it’s even shaped like a gift.
The girls loved it–after all, it was, in fact, a meal in the shape of a handbag.
But it was perhaps most special because of the way it was served: on my grandmother’s formal china and by none other than my dear old Dad, who put on his own father’s old tuxedo to serve us like a fancy maitre d’ at a swanky restaurant—a gesture that once mortified me, but over the years became one of my favorite details of the party.
As my father poured the young women sparkling apple cider into my mother’s finest crystal stemware, my guests and I felt at once totally grown up and as if nothing else mattered in the world.
Three girls made it to all 15 parties, and although the rest of the guest list changed from year to year–from camp friends to college roommates–one thing always remained constant: Christmasses at my family’s house were always full of love, laughter and good food.
The Christmas Party is one of my most treasured memories from my childhood, one that I hope I can pass down to my future daughter someday and one that I hope inspires you to start your own holiday tradition.
Even though my friends are all scattered across the country now, and perhaps a bit too old to still have my father serve us cider in a tux, it doesn’t feel like the holidays to me until I make those Christmas party purses.
One bite, and I’m immediately transported back to my parent’s dining room table, one of my most cherished spots in their home.
How to Make Christmas Party Purses
Admittedly, this holiday appetizer recipe is a pretty decadent treat. One that certainly fits nicely into the 20 portion of the 80-20 lifestyle we swear by here at Root + Revel.
But this year, I thought I’d try to make a slightly healthier version of my favorite Christmas appetizer recipe and experiment with a gluten free crepe.
I was so pleased that the party purses turned out just as delicious as ever, with just a few small tweaks, like swapping the dairy in the crepe batter for nut milk since we get plenty of cheesy goodness from the Boursin.
And I added mushrooms to the filling for a gourmet nutrient boost—the mushrooms add incredible umami flavor, a deliciously savory texture to the chicken filling and they’re full of nutrients, like selenium and copper (great for your thyroid) plus some plant-based protein, immunity-boosting vitamin C and energy-giving iron.
Here’s how you make chicken and mushrooms crepes look like a party purse, the perfect holiday appetizer:
Though this holiday appetizer recipe isn’t as clean as a lot of the recipes I share on the blog, it does still have a handful of health benefits. A relatively low-calorie Christmas party appetizer, these Chicken + Mushroom Crepes are low-carb, high-protein, with TONS of B Vitamins (energy and metabolism boosters) and Phosphorus (bone health and detox).
So don’t feel too guilty just because it’s creamy, cheesy and delicious. 😉
Plus it’s the holidays… you deserve to indulge a little!
Do you have any holiday traditions? I’d love to hear what this season means to your family, so please leave your story in the comments below.
Christmas Party Purses
It's not Christmas without my favorite holiday appetizer: chicken party purses, a festive mushroom and chicken crepe filled with creamy Boursin cheese, that we served every year at our annual Christmas party. Indulgent, savory, delicious...but so worth it and cleaned up with a gluten-free crepe batter recipe, too. The perfect Christmas party appetizer idea (it's even shaped like a gift!), and a great way to start your own fun holiday tradition with your family and kids.
- 2 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 organic green onions
- 1 cup organic portabella mushrooms , finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup bone broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (5.2-ounce) package Boursin cheese (garlic and herb flavor)
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon , chopped
- In a large pot, cover the chicken breasts with water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, on high for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add all crepe ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth and combined. Using a crepe maker*, make a dozen crepes, using spray coconut oil to prevent sticking. As you make each crepe, use a rubber spatula to remove crepe from surface and set aside on a sheet of wax paper. Continue to lay crepes between wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Clean green onions; trim and discard root ends. Thinly slice white parts and set aside. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove breasts to a large bowl and add the green onion top pieces to the boiling water you cooked the chicken in. Blanch for 1 minute, remove with tongs and rinse under cold water. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, using a salad chopper or two large forks, shred the chicken.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the whites of the green onions and the chopped mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked, shredded chicken, and season with white pepper and salt.
- Cook until chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half. Add the Boursin and tarragon and cook until cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Strain the chicken mixture, reserving the liquid for the sauce. Keep sauce warm.
- To assemble the party purses, add 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture to each crepe. Gather the sides by pulling them together at the top to make a "purse" and tie together with a green onion. Repeat until all 12 purses have been made.
- When ready to serve, pour 1 tablespoon of the reserved sauce onto the center of a small plate and top with a party purse.
*If you don’t have a crepe maker, you can pour the batter until an oiled pan, one at a time, and make the crepes the same way you would make thin pancakes.
The purses can be made up to 3 days in advance and reheated in the microwave individually for 30-60 seconds when ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Recipe.com’s Chicken-Filled Crepe Party Purses
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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