I am planning on giving you the original recipe as well as my revised one (don't be too quick to write off the revised version, no matter how weird or bizarre it might sound! :-P...) remember I did get an A and nobody got sick!!!
When I got married, my very american hubby proclaimed that he was "allergic" to flavor. And if I could be so kind as to refrain from making any overly "European dishes" (oh yes he did!)
I had to sneak this one in...and guess what...the booger LOVED it (mind you I wasn't daring enough to try the altered version...and might never be...)
Anyways, without further a due here is my favorite Belgian dish ;-) (please excuse the bad pictures, they were taken quite awhile ago...)
|Grate the cheese and set aside|
|Boil a pot of water, when boiling place the endives in the boiling water and boil until endives are tender. Set the endives aside and let cool for a couple of hours on some paper towels (see tips for why)|
|After endives have drained and cooled down, start your bechamel sauce|
|It should turn out smooth like this|
|Take the bechamel sauce off the stove and slowly add the cheese while continually stirring.|
|Add the nutmeg, pepper and salt and stir well|
|Roll the endives in a slice of ham and place in slightly greased casserole dish.|
Pour the cheese sauce over the rolled endives.
|Top with the left over cheese and a dash of pepper|
|Bake until cheese sauce is bubbly. place the dish on the top rack under the broiler until the cheese on top is bubbling and browning. yummo!!!|
|I topped off this rich meal with mashed potato balls topped with cheese and parsley and broiled until cheese is melted and bubbly.|
Chicons Au Gratin (Endives with ham covered in a rich cheese sauce)
OK so here are the tips:
- After boiling the endives, make sure you let them sit for a good amount of time. you don't want the water that gets caught in the endives to mix with your cheese sauce...ending in a watery mess.
- I changed the way of cooking the endives for my thesis; I prepared the endives as instructed but instead of boiling them I rubbed them in lemon juice and rolled them ever so slightly in sugar. I melted some butter in a saucepan, placed the endives in it and let the endives brown on all sides (the endives will blacken ever so slightly, that's ok!), then I added about 1/4 cup water to the saucepan. I covered the pan and let the endives steam until tender.
- I upped the wow factor to this dish by spreading Dijon mustard onto the slices of ham, just a thin layer.
- Now for the ultimately crazy part, after spreading the mustard I decided to add a very thin slice of banana to the mustard and ham (I cut the banana lengthwise but made sure the slices were ever so thin!) You are wondering where on earth did I get this idea from??? Well one day, while visiting Gent I stopped at a small quaint little cafe for lunch. On their menu they actually had banana covered in ham and cheese. So after discussing it with a chef I knew, we came up with this concoction (and trust me nobody suspected the banana until I told them...not even my dad lol) roll the ham and banana and endive up and proceed with the regular recipe.
- I heat my dish up in the over first until bubbly at 350F, before broiling it.
- I serve this dish with regular mashed potatoes (I add cream cheese to my potatoes for stability) formed into balls (ice cream scoop) and topped with cheese and parsley. And then broiled.
Hope you enjoy this "crazy" meal, love and kisses from our kitchen to your ;-)