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Braised Belgian Endive

Braised Belgian Endive

Belgian endive can be used raw in salads (treat it like radicchio) or cooked.  It takes well to steaming or roasting, but it’s most often seen braised.  On restaurant menus (particularly French ones) it’s common to find braised endive paired with roast meat — this vegetable goes particularly well with poultry, veal, and pork.

The slightly bitter flavor of Belgian endive is mellowed during cooking.  Butter or olive oil, along with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar (particularly balsamic vinegar), can greatly enhance its flavour.


1.5 lbs belgian endives

3 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter

1/4 cup chicken stock or water

0 salt and pepper

0 balsamic vinegar to finish (optional)

0 parsley, chopped to garnish

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1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lightly grease a baking or gratin dish with butter or olive oil.  It’s preferable to use a dish that’s big enough so the endives just fill the dish in one layer.  (But if you don’t have a dish this size, it’s OK if you overlap a bit.)
3. Wash the endives under running water.  Remove any wilted leaves (if recently purchased, there shouldn’t be any), and cut a thin wedge from the root end of each stem.  Cut each endive in half lengthwise.
4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat.  When the butter/oil is hot and melted, sauté endives (flat cut side down) until browned – 4 or 5 minutes.  If your frying pan isn’t large enough, you may have to do this is 2 batches (add more butter or olive oil if necessary).
5. When browned, remove from frying pan and place in gratin dish, flat (cut) side up.  You want to place the endives in one layer — you can squeeze them together to make them fit.  
Add chicken stock or water to gratin dish, and salt and pepper the endive.  Cover dish with aluminum foil, wrapping it around the dish for a tight fit.  Place on middle rack of preheated oven.
6. Cook until endives are tender (pierce with tip of a sharp knife to test).  This will take about 30 – 40 minutes.  Start testing at 30 minutes (it’s OK if they overcook a bit; they’ll just become softer).
When tender, remove foil and cook endives for another 5 or 10 minutes until cooking liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze (this step is optional, but adds a nice touch).
7. Remove from oven, place endives on a serving plate, spoon syrupy cooking liquid over them (optional), and lightly sprinkle them with balsamic vinegar (optional).  Sprinkle with chopped parsley (also optional), and serve.