Monday, November 16, 2009

Meatless Monday - Braised Belgian Endive with Balsamic Vinegar

Braised Belgian Endive with Balsamic Vinegar

Late fall and early winter brings forth glorious greens. Among them are the lovely snowy teeny heads of Belgian endive. While I can't decide the best pronunciation for endive, I certainly do enjoy eating it. When raw, it is incredibly crunchy and bitter. It's great chopped in a salad with other greens, but too bitter to stand on it's own. However, give it a nice slow braise to take the edge off and it turns into a tender, complex early winter vegetable dish.

I served this over polenta to catch all the cooking juice and vinegar run off. The blue cheese is optional, but adds a nice extra oomph to the dish if serving as a main course.

4 small heads Belgian endive
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Cooked polenta
4 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Remove any bruised outer leaves from the endives. Trim a little off the core end, but don't cut the core entirely off. Halve each endive lengthwise.

Braised Belgian Endive with Balsamic Vinegar

In a medium dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the endives, cut side down, and cook 5-7 minutes until beginning to brown. Flip over and cook another 5 minutes until both sides are browned.

Add wine to pan and cover. Cook 25-30 minutes until the endives are soft.

Add vinegar to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully, it can go from perfectly syrupy to burned mess in just a few seconds.

Pile polenta in center of individual plates. Top with blue cheese crumbles then endive. Pour reduced vinegar over endives. Season with freshly ground pepper.

Serves 2

1 comment:

JEn said...

This looks delicious. I just made a balsamic reduction the other day for the first time to drizzle over roasted veggies and it was awesome. I bet it would work well with this dish, I may need to stop by the grocery on my way home.