Braising seems to be the essential winter cooking technique – whether it be a slow braised ragu on the stove top or an oven braised Irish Beef Stew. Braising creates the loveliest and most intense flavors in many types of meat, poultry, veggies and even seafood. Not too mention, all that oven heat warms up the house and infuses every room with the scent of comfort.
Braising is definitely a preferred method of cooking for those tougher cuts of meat. It slowly breaks down the connective tissue creating a succulent texture, while bathing in sumptuous liquid and aromatics. Braising is also a fantastic cooking method for vegetables. Some vegetables I much prefer roasted, but many vegetables can be braised; such as leeks, root veggies, radicchio and my favorite, Belgian Endive.
I always begin with high quality butter. Braising with butter allows the endive to caramelize and then creates a bit of creaminess to the dish. The end result is a bit toasty, sweet, savory and although still some firmness to the endive, it melts like butter on the taste buds.
This is the perfect side dish to a slow cooked roast or chicken. Although, this makes an excellent light lunch. Which is what happened to these little lovelies. I couldn’t resist. Buttery, sweet and delicious!
Has it been a good first week of the new year for you? Although it’s been a productive first week for me, I feel like I’ve been moving at mach speed with long lists to accomplish, phone calls to return, work planning to complete and workouts to squeeze in somewhere. I did manage to stay on task and nourish my body with my 30 days of yoga plan and Tank got his walk every morning. Honestly, he doesn’t give me a chance to forget. Tank follows me all over the house pretending to sneeze every now and again – reminding me we haven’t taken our walk. He’s a funny dog.
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
- 4 Belgian Endive, organic or pesticide free, washed and dried
- 4 knobs of quality butter, salted or unsalted (about 4 tablespoons) diced (I admit, I'm not terribly precise with the butter - sometimes I might use a bit more)
- Squeeze of lemon, about one tablespoon
- Sprig or two of fresh thyme (optional)
- A Dutch oven or oven proof pot with a lid
- Salt and Pepper (sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper work well here)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Snip the root ends of the endive, being careful not to snip off too much as we want them to stay together when we slice them in half. Next slice each endive lengthwise in half making eight halves.
Place the Dutch oven stove top over medium heat and melt a few pieces of the diced butter. Once it's melted, take it off the heat and place the endive halves in a single layer in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Next, toss in the remaining butter, squeeze of lemon, sprig of thyme if using, evenly over the top of the endive. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the Dutch oven and place it over the endive. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for about 45-50 minutes.
When the endive are done, discard the thyme and gently transfer them from the Dutch oven to a platter and season to taste with a bit more salt if desired. Serve immediately and relish the deliciousness!