After an exhausting week on holiday in France (believe me, with two children under five, holidays can be very tiring for aging parents) we have been suffering from a spate of illnesses. First little brother, after a week long cold, developed a nasty stomach flu. Then I caught it. And then the Critic caught a head cold. The result was that we were all home at lunch time yesterday and in need of comfort food. Big Brother had Hoops (the British equivalent of Spaghetti-Ohs, heaven help me) and the Critic and Little Brother had beans on toast. Neither of those appealed to me, nor did they fit the bill for a light Weight Watchers lunch so I rummaged in the fridge and found a pair of Belgian endives.
I have to say that endives (or chicory if you are here in the UK) have to be one of my favorite winter foods. They keep forever. (The pair I found had been in the vegetable drawer since well before our holiday in France and were still beautiful.) They are low in calorie and high in crunch factor when you put them in a salad. And when you braise them, they make the perfect light lunch. Savory with a hint of sweetness, extremely healthy and filling. And they take all of about 15 minutes to cook. The only frustrating part is waiting five minutes or so for them to cool down enough to eat.
I know I wrote up my recipe for braised endives a few years ago, but I thought it was worth directing you to the recipe again. Firstly because you might not have caught it the first time around. And secondly because I neglected to mention how low calorie this satisfying lunch is. If you cut the sugar to 1/2 tsp (which you can easily do if the endives aren't too old and bitter - and my 3 week old pair were not yet bitter at all) and limit the butter to 2 tsp in a non-stick pan, the whole dish is only 2.5 points. I generally increase the amount of stock to 250 ml and serve it in a bowl, so that after I've eaten the endives I have a lovely endive-flavored soup to finish.
So how do you like your endives? A crunchy salad with walnuts and blue cheese? Or covered in a creamy bechamel and baked with ham? Or simply braised with good quality stock? If you have any new ideas I'd love to hear them!