As a food lover, I totally love autumn. Autumn means lovely stews, Brussels sprouts, baking cakes and pies, fresh leek, … And a lot of our Belgian national dishes are at their best in autumn. You’ve already tried my Belgian beef stew I hope, but here’s a second one of my favorites: chicory with a lovely cheese sauce and ham. It’s another dish full of flavors if you make it like you should. I know it’s not easy to find decent grown chicories if you’re not living in Belgium or the Netherlands. Do invest in some fine quality stalks as the difference in taste is so big … It’ll be worth it, I promise.
Your shopping list for 4:
- some butter
- 8 pieces of high quality chicory, all about the same size
- some pepper and salt for seasoning
- 2 spoons of sugar
- 5 dl milk
- 5 spoons of roux
- 200g cheese (1/3 emmenthal, 1/3 gruyère, 1/3 parmesan cheese)
- 8 slices of quality ham
- mashed potatoes to serve
- First up, rub some butter against the sides and the bottom of your stewing pan.
- Remove the outer leaves of your chicory if necessary and with a small knife, remove the hard bottom at the back and that hard bit on the inside that makes it all taste just a bit too bitter.
- Place your chicory in the pan, season with pepper and salt, scatter the sugar all over and put some small pieces of butter on each stalk. Add just a bit of water to the pan, cover with the lid and let it stew on a low heat for about 40 minutes. Don’t turn them over during the process. The sugar will caramelize and add some lovely deep flavor to your chicory.
- For the cheese sauce bring the milk to the boil, then add the roux and turn down the heat. Keep on stirring for he roux to dissolve in the milk and let the sauce thicken.
- Add the three different cheeses to the sauce and let it melt. Mix if necessary to make a creamy smooth sauce. Season with pepper, salt and nutmeg to your taste.
- When the chicory is ready, take one stalk out of the pan and wrap a slice of ham around it. Repeat with all stalks.
- Place all your wrapped chicories in an oven dish, pour over the cheese sauce and let it all grill in the oven.
- Serve with some yummy mashed potatoes.