Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chicon Au Gratin or Belgian Endive Gratin

Chicon Au Gratin  or Belgian Endive Gratin

This is a classic Belgian dish. When I was first asked to try this dish, I crinkled my nose, because most of the Endive dishes I tasted before tasted awfully bad and bitter. I just could not imagine sauteed and caramelised endives wrapped in ham and topped with Mornay sauce and baked can create such a delicacy. Mornay sauce is basically a Bechamel sauce with melted Gruyere cheese. The combination of flavours is amazing. This dish is popular for a reason. I tried to prepare this at home, but I could not get good Gruyere Cheese and used some Cheddar and Parmesan instead. I did not taste as good as it did with Gruyere. So in case you can lay hands on Gruyere, use it. You can still make it once to have a taste of this famous dish.

Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time      :  35 minutes (including preparing the Mornay Sauce)
Baking Time         :  25 minutes
Difficulty              :   Medium
Serves                  :   4  - 6

Ingredients :

For the Endives :
  • 6 small Endives
  • 2 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoon Sugar

  • For the Mornay Sauce :
    • 2 tablespoons Butter
    • 2 tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
    • 3/4 cup / 180 mils Milk
    • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated (you can, like me, use a mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan)

    For Assembling :

    • 6 slices Ham
    • 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated (use mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan, if you can't get Gruyere)

    Method :

      1) Cut off the base of the endives and remove all wilted leaves.

      2) Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the endives. If you have some extra loose leaves you can also add them to the frying pan.

      3) Saute the endives over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they start to brown. Turn them occasionally so they brown evenly.
      4) Add the sugar and garlic and continue to cook until the endives start to caramelise. Then take them out and place them on a plate with paper towels.
      5) For the Mornay sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium -high heat.

      6) Add the flour and combine it with the butter and cook the mix for a few minutes, till the flour is no longer raw.
      7) Take it off the heat and whisk in the milk until it is well combined.

      8) Place the sauce back on the stove and cook until it starts to thicken while constantly stirring.
      9) Then take it off the heat again and whisk in the Greek yogurt. Remember to take it off the heat before adding the yogurt, otherwise the Yogurt will curdle.

     10) Add the cheese and mix the sauce until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes uniformly thick.
     11) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 Degree F / 218 Degree C.
     12) Then comes the most important part,  assembling. First, grease a casserole or baking dish just big enough to hold the endives.

     13) Take one endive and some of the loose leaves that came off and wrap this in a slice of ham.

     14) Place it in the baking dish seam-side down. Repeat with the rest of the endives.
     15) Pour the Mornay sauce over the endives completely covering them with sauce.

     16) Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere cheese or the cheese mixture forming a top layer.
     17) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes at 425 Degree F / 218 Degree C or until the top browns and bubbles.
     18) Serve with some fresh salad and baguette or Garlic toasts and enjoy with the family.

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