Beer-braised Endive

This is a traditional dish made in Holland and Belgium that uses caramelization and a couple other techniques to bring out the sweetness of this vegetable, counterbalancing the bitterness. If you’re averse to the bitterness of the endive, you can cut out the root before serving. Immediately before serving, add your strips of raw endive and toss them in the sauce.- Roger Letourneau

4-8 Belgian endive
brown sugar, to coat
8 T butter
Orval, Rochefort 8 or Trappist beer
malt vinegar to taste
salt to taste
anise-flavoured spices or chicory root, optional, ground

Reserve one or two of the endive to serve raw. Cut them in half lengthwise, then into quarters. Slice them vertically into long thin stripes and reserve for garnishing the dish.

Cut the rest of them vertically so the root is still intact on both sides and you have two flat pieces from each endive.

Heat a pan that has enough surface area for all of the spears to lay flat-side down. Toss endive in a handful of sugar to coat. Melt the butter in the pan and place your endive face down in the butter and let it slowly caramelize in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Add more sugar depending on your taste. At this point salt the endive on both sides and flip them over and start caramelizing the other side. If you need more butter or sugar add it at this point. Once the round side is caramelized add your beer (add enough so the endive is half-covered, allowing the tops to retain their texture from caramelization.) Add the spices and simmer until the beer has reduced by half. Adjust your seasoning to taste with salt, brown sugar and malt vinegar.