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 a winning combination. Chicons au gratin is probably my daughter’s all-time favorite dish.
How much time does it take to make chicons au gratin?
Chicons au gratin is wonderful for a friendly family-style meal. There’s nothing fancy about this dish, yet it appears as if the cook made a big effort. Do not get me wrong, it does take a little time to braise the Belgian endives, prepare the Mornay sauce and then assemble the casserole before putting the dish in the oven to bake. It takes about the same time as preparing a lasagna before putting it in the oven.
To reduce the fuss at time of serving this yummy dish, you can braise the Belgian endives and prepare the Mornay sauce in advance, for example, the day before.
Or if you prefer, bake the chicons au gratin casserole in advance and then keep it for another day. If you choose to bake the dish in advance, remove the baked casserole from the oven about 5 to 10 minutes before completion. Then let it cool off completely. At this point you may put it in the refrigerator for a couple days before reheating it later. You may also freeze the baked casserole for about a month before reheating it. In this way, chicons au gratin is similar to lasagna.
To learn how to braise Belgian endives and examples of how these braised goodies may be used, follow this link.
How to serve chicons au gratin
Traditionally chicons au gratin is prepared with mashed potatoes. I cook and serve the mashed potatoes separately. Some people, however, prefer to put the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the casserole dish and then place the wrapped Belgian endives and the Mornay sauce on top. Either way it’s delicious.
I would love to hear from you on how your family makes this dish (if they do). Try this recipe and let me know what you think. Remember to share this recipe with your friends using the share buttons below.