Braised Endive

by Matt on December 13, 2007

Braisingingredients

Braisingbook
Well it certainly seems that this book hasn’t been the best for me. It’s honed in on my compulsive nature and practically forced me to braise anything and everything this past week.

Why was this never added to our collection until now? Where have I been all this time? Jeez.

And I know I know, braising as a primary cooking method can get a bit tiring if overdone; it is possible to become bored with a method that leaves everything soft, tender, and moist. Ok, that was a joke folks! I don’t think I’d ever get tired of braising if it’s limited to this time of year when I don’t mind neglecting the crunch of a baby spring vegetable or the snap of a green pea.

To me, braising equals comfort. However, I do need some variety in my life, and I love the fact that I’ve discovered recipes for braising vegetables. Growing up my mom made wonderful braised dishes like pot roast and corned beef and cabbage but I never thought of using vegetables as the featured ingredient. And why not? It seems as if braising makes everything better, and the addition of a little fat in the form of bacon or prosciutto, well, seriously, must I tell you how delicious that is?

(As I type this my Gourmet Weekly email newsletter arrived touting the pleasures of celery root, another fave of mine. Included in the email is a recipe for Braised Chicken with Celery Root & Garlic. I think I know what I’m making for dinner!)

Braisedendive

Braised Endive With Prosciutto from All About Braising by Molly Stevens

Clearly a recipe that’s greater than the sum of its parts. But then again, I do love endive and I do love ham. It’s hard to explain the silky texture of the cream with the endive and how utterly delicious it is with the most unique mouthfeel. The prosciutto is a wonderful contrast.

Ingredients
6 to 9 Belgian endive (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thin slices of prosciutto (or Serrano), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips with fat left on
coast salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream

Method
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large gratin dish or baking dish (9-by-13-inch).

2. Trim the endive by removing the outermost leaves and trim the bottom if they appear brown or dried out. Cut each endive lengthwise in half.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat (nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron are good choices since the delicate leaves won’t stick or tear, but any decent skillet will do). When the butter just stops foaming, add as many endive, cut side down, as weill fit in a loose layer and cook until the cut sides are nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the endive and brown for a minute or two on the other side. Transfer the browned endive to the grain dish, arranging them cut side up. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet and brown the rest of the endive. The endive should fit in a snug single layer in the gratin dish.

4. There should still be a film of butter in the skillet. Still over medium heat, add the strips of prosciutto to the skillet and turn to coat them with the butter. Tuck a few strips between the endive and drape the rest over the tops. Season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the prosciutto is salty. Add the stock to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits, and pour the stock over the endive and prosciutto.

5. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Braise until the endive are collapsed and tender when pierced with a sharp knife and have a true burnished hue, 30 to 35 minutes.

6. Remove the foil and baste the endive by spooning over any juices from the pan. If the pan is dry, add 2 tablespoons of water. Braise, uncovered, for another 8 to 10 minutes, unitl the pan juices have turned a caramel color and almost completely evaporated. Pour over the heavy cream–the lesser amount if you want something less rich tasting–and bake until the cream takes on a caramel color and thickens to a sauce-like consistency, another 6 minutes or so. Spoon over any pan drippings, and serve warm or at room temperature.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

núria December 13, 2007 at 9:59 am

Hi Matt! Since the other day that I bumped into your blog I’ve been wondering if you come from the Basque Country in Spain… with such family name… it would be easy!
I think your blog is Beautiful and I wonder if you would mind that I link you in mine, ok? if any problem, please let me know.
About braised food in general, I just love how the real taste comes out!!!
Agur!

deb December 13, 2007 at 10:07 am

I just got that book! And, oddly, the meat recipes had little appeal but the vegetables are what hooked me. This, and the braised cabbage, were at the top of my list. I am so pleased to have confirmation that the endive is indeed delish.

Jennifer Hess December 13, 2007 at 10:35 am

That sounds fantastic. I feel like I get into such a rut with veggies this time of year with roasted root vegetables or sauteed chard/kale/etc., so it’s nice to read about other options.

Hillary December 13, 2007 at 1:14 pm

That is gorgeous! Makes me want to buy the book!

mary December 13, 2007 at 3:16 pm

This recipe is sooo French. I love it exactly like this, but it’s also good with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg and/or some good gruyère sprinkled on top (I’m not usually one to add things to other people’s recipes, so sorry if that’s irritating, but, well, it really is good).

PetitsBijoux December 14, 2007 at 8:40 am

Oh my!

I ate this exact dish when I stayed with relatives in Provence.

The only difference was that my aunt wrapped the endives in the prosciutto and added nutmeg and hard cheese (not sure which kind). I will have to make this and reminisce.

Thank you!

Robert December 14, 2007 at 11:31 am

This looks fabulous. I can’t wait to try it—in fact—off I go to the store. Thanks for sharing.

Grant December 14, 2007 at 2:14 pm

I’m really into braised vegetables. I made some fantastic braised leeks recently from the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook. This looks amazing. I think I’m going to add this to my Christmas Dinner menu. Thanks!

casey December 14, 2007 at 2:21 pm

LORDY that looks good! I can’t wait to try it.

Terry B December 14, 2007 at 3:03 pm

This looks and sounds wonderful–comfort food, to be sure, but elevated comfort food. Perhaps salting the endive before adding the prosciutto to the gratin pan would properly season the former without oversalting the latter.

sciencegeek December 16, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I went braise crazy with braised leeks and braised fennel recently. Addictive. Very addictive.

Kathy December 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm

This looks beautiful! I also love braising but haven’t been doing much of it recently, perhaps its time to re-enter the braising world!

I love braised fennel as well – but I think the addition of prosciutto here will be excellent – thanks for the recipe & cookbook tip!

sugarlaws December 18, 2007 at 6:02 pm

that looks amazing! i never would have thought to braise endive, but it looks delicious!

K December 31, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Oh my God, I think I just ruined my keyboard with drool. Those…look…FANTASTIC. I know what we’ll be having for dinner later this week. Thanks for posting the recipe! :D

K December 31, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Oh my God, I think I just ruined my keyboard with drool. Those…look…FANTASTIC. I know what we’ll be having for dinner later this week. Thanks for posting the recipe! :D

kellypea January 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Thanks for the head’s up on the cookbook. I hadn’t heard of it before and this recipe looks amazing…

simplething January 12, 2008 at 3:43 am

Tried this last night, with the tiny addition of some goat’s cheese crumbled over for the final bit of baking.

Simply delicious – thanks, Matt!

Molly January 18, 2008 at 5:38 am

Just stumbled upon your blog — great stuff. So glad to see my book mentioned. That endive recipe is one of my favorites. Your photos are beautiful. Thanks!

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