My favourite choice

One of my favourite dishes when we visit the Netherlands and go out to eat is chicory wrapped in ham in a savoury sauce. I don’t know if every restaurant serves it as The Triangle does – Cafe Den Driehoek, but it’s my favourite choice! It probably tastes extra good as we are in such fine company with our friends!

I’ve come across a recipe which seems to approximate what it’s like, but so far I have failed to find chicory… here’s the recipe anyway:

  • 4 heads of chicory
  • 4 slices of cooked ham
  • chicken stock
  •  milk
  • grated cheese, plus extra for topping
  • flour
  • nutmeg
  • pepper and salt
  • chopped fresh herbs of your choice, maybe parsley, chives, coriander… or chervil if you have it
  • nutmeg
  1. simmer the chicory in the stock until they are just tender, you don’t want them floppy and slimy
  2. remove from the stock – set it aside to make the sauce
  3. roll the ham round the chicory and place in a buttered heat-proof dish.
  4. make a sauce from the stock, milk, butter, cheese and flour, season to taste with salt, pepper and plenty of nutmeg
  5. pour the sauce over the chicory and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese
  6. place under grill or in oven to gratiné for 10 minutes
  7. garnish with herbs and serve with creamy mashed potato (with plenty of butter, chopped herbs, and nutmeg)

My featured image is nothing to do with triangles or chicory!!

8 Comments

    1. Lois

      It was something I never came across as a child – dad grew all our veg and was very particular about the varieties he grew and how they were cooked. I’d heard of chicory as an essence and coffee substitute – in fact, mum and dad had percolated coffee at breakfast but it was mixed with chicory. I first realised it was edible as a vegetable in a book by Katherine Whitehorn’ Cooking in a Bedsitter’ where she wrote about a friend who grew endive in pots in his wardrobe – in the dark to blanch it! I was intrigued by this and it’s a wonder I didn’t try to cultivate some in my bedsit when I was a student!
      Now I love it – when I can get hold of it, mostly in salads 🙂

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      1. himalayanbuddhistart

        My parents also mixed coffee with roasted wild chicory root, to make it go longer. It was a common practice in France until at least the 1970s and some families continue with it. According to some, the use of roasted chicory root as a substitute for coffee goes back to the days when Napoleon (Bonaparte) forbade the use of products coming from England or its colonies, including coffee. Whether this is true or not is another story.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lois

        That’s so interesting! I didn’t know about the Napoleonic connection. Am I imagining it, or did people also roast acorns and grind them to make a hot drink?

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      3. himalayanbuddhistart

        Yes, that was during WWII. They are still used in an organic drink called Yannoh, along with roasted chicory, barley and rye. But not all acorns can be eaten, it depends on the type of oak tree, some of them are terribly bitter. Like most plant parts, they have medicinal properties, they lower the sugar and the cholesterol in your blood. In Spain acorns are given to the free-range black pigs used to make the very delicious (and very expensive) cured ham from ‘100% acorn-fed Iberian pigs’. So many plants can be eaten that most of us don’t know of, but of course the most important thing is that they should be organic or else you eat the pesticides and the herbicides along with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Lois

        I’d forgotten about the acorn-eating pigs! And of course Piglet was very fond of haycorns, wasn’t he! Yes, there must be so many things growing in hedgerows and woods which we just stroll right past without realising they can be eaten or used in all sorts of ways. I noticed a lady by the beach gathering what looked like “weeds”, a little like dandelions in appearance, and when I asked her she told me it was sea beet/sea spinach and full of minerals and vitamins! I didn’t pick any because they were growing very near where people walk their dogs…

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  1. himalayanbuddhistart

    I know what you mean, not particularly appealing because of where it grows, as you pointed out… We use purslane in salads, but my latest discovery is navelwort, delicious in salads or on its own as a side dish, with a bit of salt, lemon juice and olive oil. An all time favourite is nasturtium, flowers, leaves, and buds, the latest can be pickled like capers. Apart from adding them to salads or to decorate a pizza, the flowers can be dried and added to a spice mixture or a herbal tea, they add colour and flavour, as do violets and calendula flowers (obviously, we don’t use any form of chemicals in the garden so it is all safe to eat).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      I confess, I’ve never heard of navelwort, I will have to investigate – I’m always interested in trying new things, especially as I love salad so much.
      I completely forgot about nasturtiums – a friend’s garden was overrun with them so there were always plenty – and the flowers look so lovely in salads! Note to self: buy some seeds! I didn’t know about drying the flowers, another thing to try 🙂

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