Chicons au gratin

Chicons au gratin

What are Chicons au gratin?
Chicons au gratin is a Belgian national dish consisting of braised Belgian endives  (aka chicons) wrapped in slices of baked ham and covered with a Mornay sauce and some grated cheese.  Steaming hot with a creamy cheesy sauce, chicons au gratin is comfort food par excellence.  The bitter Belgian endives mixed with the sweet baked ham also make for a winner combination.  Chicons au gratin is probably my daughter’s all-time favorite dish.

Chicons au gratin makes for a friendly family-style meal.  There’s nothing fancy about this dish, yet it appears as if the cook…

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade

Belgian Beef Carbonnade

Belgian Beef Carbonnade Made Easy
Belgian Beef Carbonnade is known by many names:  Flemish Carbonnade, Belgian Beef Stew, Beef and Beer Stew, are among the most common.  Although recipes for Belgian Beef Carbonnade generally include beef and beer, there are many variations.  Some families spread mustard on bread and add it to the pot for thickness and to reduce the sweetness of this dish.  Many use dark abbey beer to give a deeper flavor.  Depending on the beer used it may also add sweetness.  I prefer a blond Abbey (light ale) beer instead since it lends a more subtle flavor that blends perf…

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Speculoos Pie Crust

Speculoos Pie Crust

What are Speculoos Cookies?
If you are wondering what the heck are Speculoos,  they are a traditional Belgian and Dutch spice cookie eaten all year round yet primarily made for Saint Nicholas day (6 December in Belgium and 5 December in the Netherlands) and the winter holidays.  In some Anglo-Saxon countries, these traditional cookies are known as Biscoff.   In the Netherlands, they refer to these cookies as Speculaas.   In Germany, where these cookies also have deep roots, they are known as Spekulatius.  Many countries in Europe and the Americas follow their own favorite version of a spice c…

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Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

Belgian Foodie® Winter Salad

How can you create a Winter Salad?
Winter salads bring color, vitamins and fresh tastes to brighten up your plate and keep your palate alive.  In many ways I prefer winter salads to salads at other times of the year because the ingredients are often more crispy and full of flavor.

The key to making an exceptional winter salad is to blend colors and tastes.  Don’t be afraid to use bitter vegetables like Belgian endives, radicchio and escarole, all of the chicory family.  Bitter tastes can be offset by adding sweet ingredients like sliced apples, dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, figs, and …

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Braised Belgian Endives

Braised Belgian Endives

Why learning how to braise Belgian Endives is so important?
Everyone in Belgium needs to learn how to braise Belgian endives, commonly known as chicons or witlof in Belgium, at some point in their life.  It should almost be a requirement of citizenship. Many people are a bit intimidated to cook Belgian endives because they are easy to overcook or often fall apart while cooking.  Yet, braising Belgian Endives is actually fairly simple.

All it takes to braise Belgian endives is a pan, some olive oil or butter, garlic, a touch of nutmeg, a sprinkle of sugar and a little water.  From start to …

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Belgian Endive Pie

Belgian Endive Pie

How can I use Belgian endive in a new way?
Belgian endive, known as chicory in the United Kingdom, chicons in the French-speaking part of Belgium and witlof  in the Dutch-speaking part of Beligum, is generally prepared only a couple different ways.   OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  Raw and mixed in a salad, braised in olive oil with a little garlic as a side dish, or chicons gratin  (endives braised wrapped in ham and covered with a Mornay sauce).  Belgian endives mix great with pork (any kind of bacon or ham), Roquefort or blue cheese, walnuts and root vegetables (especi…

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Yogurt Spread with Radishes and Green Onions

Yogurt Spread with Radishes and Green Onions

Is spring in the air?
It was at least on my lunch table.
A couple days ago I was home for lunch on my own and wanted to make something special yet easy. I had a few eggplants, carrots, red peppers, cucumbers, green onions, and much more.

I was really in the mood to make a typical Belgian spread made principally with fromage blanc, green onions and radishes.  You add a little salt and pepper to these ingredients and you basically have your spread.  I also wanted to make baba ganoush with the eggplants. So what did I do?

I made both! Here I share the recipe for the Yogurt Spread with Rad…

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Salade Liégeoise: Green Beans and Bacon

Salade Liégeoise:  Green Beans and Bacon

What is a Salade Liégoise?
As every Belgian knows, a Salade Liégeoise is a very typical warm salad made with three basic ingredients: green beans (string beans), bacon and potatoes.   Its name suggests it comes from the city and region of Liège near the German-Dutch borders with Belgium.

Often we add onions and season it with a little wine vinegar or a combination of vinegars, such as Sherry, raspberry and red wine vinegars.  I usually use my homemade red wine vinegar with a mix of cranberry or raspberry vinegar to add a fruity touch.

Although a Salade Liégeoise is rather straight-forwa…

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