Sunday, June 23, 2013

Easy Braised Endive

Finding some endive at the grocery store was exciting! I have recently been wanting to try cooking it. Simple cooking is best for me - I don't have the patience to faff about too much. So I read up about cooking endive and distilled what I learned into the simplest tasty recipe.

Endive, also called chicory, is grown in the dark. It is also transported and sold in lightproof boxes or packages. Exposing endives to light makes them turn green and more bitter.

In fact, endive can have quite a bitter flavour. Here are a few tips to avoid the bitterness:
  • Choose endive that is creamy white. The more green it is, the more bitter it is.
  • The bitterness is concentrated in the core at the base of the head of endive. Cut this part out (after braising) if you don't want to eat the more bitter parts. If you are eating the endive raw, cut this part out at the beginning of preparation.
  • Keep the endive in a lightproof package and don't buy endive that isn't sold this way.

Don't let any of these details deter you - endives are delicious and easy to prepare. Voila - my easiest ever endive!

Easy Braised Belgian Endive
serves 2 or 3 as a side dish

Choose endive that is creamy white with yellowish-green tips, not browned. Endive doesn't need to be washed; just rinse the outer leaves. Don't try to braise red endive (which is actually a cross between endive and radicchio).

3 heads of Belgian endive
2 T butter
2 c (500 ml) vegetable (or chicken) stock
juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
Prepare the endives by rinsing their outsides and removing any discoloured outer leaves. Trim the root very slightly. Cut them in half lengthwise.
Heat a skillet and melt the butter.
Add the endives, cut side down.
Let brown, without moving, for three minutes.
Then turn them over and let them cook for another three minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the stock in a pan or the microwave.

Remove the endives from the skillet and place into a small baking dish.
Add some of the stock to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Get all the crispy bits off the pan.
Pour the stock from the skillet and the rest of the stock over the endive.
Cover with a lid or some foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Endives should be tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
Just before serving, drizzle with lemon juice.

Have you eaten endive before?
Do you like bitter flavours?

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