Traditional Belgian dish - chicon and ham rolls

I made this dish last night so thought I'd take a few shots of it and post the recipe here. It's one of my favourite dishes, more a winter kind of thing, but I indulge in it all year round.

The main ingredient is chicon, or witloof chicory*, which are pretty difficult to find in the U.K.. They're slightly bitter, so if you're not a fan of artichokes and Brussels sprouts, stay away from them ;)

* Witloof Chicory (also called French or Belgian Endive) are blanched, tight heads produced by forcing (or growing in the darkness) the big mature chicory roots in forcing structures. See picture further down.

I have tweaked the original recipe - which uses lots of butter and cheese - to make a WW-friendly version, but if you're not on a diet, please indulge in the real thing as it is absolutely divine with the added ingredients ;)

Ingredients (serves 1)
(the reason I make this dish for 1 person is that my husband hates chicon, so I always make it just for myself)

2 nice big chicon
2 large slices of ham (about 30 g per slice)
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
2 level tbsp cornflour
150 g potatoes
1/2 tsp butter
salt, pepper, grated nutmeg
Optional: grated cheese


Preparation
Cut about 1 cm off the base of the chicon and cut out a small cone to get rid of the harder core. Don't wash the chicon before cooking, as this increases their bitterness apparently. If necessary, remove one or two outer leaves if not perfectly clean.

Melt a tiny amount of butter in a saucepan (about 1/2 tsp is enough), then add the chicon to the pan. The butter just gives them a really nice creamy taste, so I don't leave it out, but you could. Add half a cup of water and cover, leaving to simmer on a low heat for about 35 minutes (the softer the chicon become, the nicer they are). The water should just about fully evaporate - make sure they don't burn and add a little extra water if necessary.


I usually make this dish with mashed potatoes (simply cook the potatoes, drain the excess water and add a couple of tbsp of milk to them before mashing them up, then add salt and pepper).

For the sauce: put the milk on to boil and add the cornflour. Stir on a low heat for about 20 minutes, while the sauce thickens (this is a low-fat version of a white sauce. For the full-fat version, use an equal amount of butter and flour). Season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.

Take the cooked chicon and roll each one in a slice of ham. Serve with the mashed potatoes and cover with the white sauce.

Optionally, you can sprinkle the dish with grated cheese and put it in the oven to grill for a few minutes.

The low-fat version of this dish is 7 points (including the potatoes). Add extra points if you use butter in the sauce or grated cheese on top.

Bon app├ętit!

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