Saturday, January 8, 2011

Endives and Ham in a Cheese Bechamel

Happy New Year!!!
I am sort of happy the Holidays are over... We did eat too much...too rich, but it was all so good I could not resist!!!
Time to scale back and go back to healthy eating! least half healthy!
We have had roasted chicken and made soup out of the carcasses. Excellent! Worth spending the time to cook the bones down and the lemony taste was refreshing!

This recipe for Belgian Endives is quick, easy to make and not too rich...! A Bechamel is a white sauce that can be very thick and heavy, but this one is really light. I used 1% milk and made it a bit thinner than most recipes.

Endives and Ham in a Cheese Bechamel

Serves 6

12 large Belgian Endives
24 thin slices of ham (Virginia, Black Forrest, but not maple!)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk (aproximately)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese

First you want to blanch the endives:
Bring water to boil in a large pot. When boiling, add the endives and cook for about 5 minutes, until a bit tender.
Drain ans set aside.

Prepare the Bechamel:
In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil and butter on medium high. When the butter starts to sizzle,reduce the heat to medium low and add the flour and whisk until well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes (this is also the starter for a roux, which cooks longer and gets darker). Start adding the milk, a little at a time, whisking well to avoid lumps. As soon as it thickens, you add more milk until you have reached the desired thickness. Add the nutmeg, about 3/4 cup of cheese and season with pepper to taste.

Wrap the cooled endives in 2 slices of ham. Place in a baking dish. With a large spoon, pour the sauce over the endives. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for about 45 minutes.

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