Braised Endives

Braised Endives 01

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

Endives Braisées a classic of the Belgian cuisine. Great on its own or all dressed up. Endives, are quite popular in Europe as comfort food or as a side dish worth of every dinner party. I like them best braised or roasted rather than raw as an appetizer.

In the US endives are called Belgian Endives and are used mostly raw for dips and in salads. In the UK they are known as Chicory and in Australia/New Zealand as Witloof. In the US “Chicory” is the name for the curly endive used as a salad.

Ingredients:

  • about 4 medium size Belgian endives split lengthwise in half
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) smoked bacon cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
  • 6 Tbsp Crème Fraîche or heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Braised Endives 02
Preparation:

Melt butter in the pan and add bacon pieces. Fry them until crunchy over medium heat taking care not to burn the bacon, stirring now and then. When nicely browned, remove them from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Discard most of the fat accumulated in the pan. Leave just about 2 tablespoons of it. Scrape any bacon bits left on the bottom of the pan. They give an extra taste to the wine and cream sauce later on.

Add the endives cut side down first in a single layer. Sprinkle them with pepper. Don’t add any salt at this stage as the bacon is already salted. Sprinkle bacon sticks around the endives and add the 1/2 cup (120 ml) of white wine. Bring everything to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and sauté them gently for 30 minutes turning them gently now and then until they are nicely golden but do not fall apart. Pierce them in the center with a small knife to test their doneness. Add lemon juice and cream swirling the pan around to mix the juices. Taste for salt. Warm it again without letting it boil.

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