You can find often this chicon au gratin – Belgian specialty – in the Brussels‘ brasseries, usually accompanied by potato purée or french fries. I love this dish, even though I can never eat it in the restaurant as the endive are wrapped in ham. As you can guess, I learned to prepare them at home using a vegetarian ham. Last time I did it with quorn ham but any other vegetarian ham is ok (just remember that the number of the slices needed depends on the large of the slices – if one slice is not large enough to roll the whole endive, then you will need two per endive). You can also do this recipe if you are a meat lover and in this case you just use thin slices of ham of your choice.
During the winter months, it is the season of endive so get some in the shop or market and try this delicious winter recipe! 🙂
Read also: Food in Belgium: 15 Things You Should Try
The preparation of endive gratin is very easy: cook the prepared endive for 15 minutes in a large pan, with melted butter, garlic and sugar, add a bit of water so that they don’t burn. Turn them from time to time so that they golden from more sides.
Then wrap them up in the slices of vegetarian ham (if your slices are not large enough, use two) and place them into the baking dish.
Pour over the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with gruyere and bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
- 4 endives
- 25 g butter
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 clove garlic
- 4-8 slices of vegetarian ham (depends on the size of endives)
- 20 g butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 250 ml milk
- 1 tbsp cream
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of paprika
- 100 g gruyère, grated
- Wash the endive, cut away about 1 cm of root ends and the bruised or wilted outer leaves. Peel and grate the garlic clove.
- Fry the garlic in melted butter (25g) on a medium heat. Add the whole endive with some water and teaspoon of sugar and leave golden for about 15 minutes, do not forget to turn them so that they golden from each side (if needed, add some more water so that they do not burn). When done, leave the endive drain away and reserve the juice from the pan for later use.
- Preheat the oven to 225°C.
- Prepare the bechamel sauce: melt the 20 g of butter in a saucepan on medium heat and when melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the flour at once, stirring constantly until golden brown. Gradually whisk in the milk and juice from endives, and bring to boil while stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and add the cream, season with salt and pepper, nutmeg and paprika, add half of grated gruyère and continue to cook on low heat for few more minutes until the sauce is more dense, then remove from the heat.
- Wrap up each drained endive in a slice of vegetarian ham (if one slice is not enough, use two slices) and place them into the baking dish, one next to the other.
- Pour the bechamel sauce over the endive, sprinkle with the remaining gruyère and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Serve with potatoes, potato puree, french fries or simply with a salad.