A lettuce-like vegetable, chicory is a tasty vegetable. This version is braised in stock, seasoned and mixed with smoky bacon.
- 30g (1oz) butter
- 1tbsp sunflower oil
- 4 heads chicory, halved
- 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- 1 level tbsp flour
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Set the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C.
Heat butter and oil in large frying pan. When hot, place chicory in pan, cut-side down. Cook for 3-5 mins over a medium heat until the cut surface has browned. Depending on pan size, it may be necessary to do this in 2 batches. Put chicory in ovenproof dish, cut-side up.
Add bacon to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 3-5 mins, or until bacon has started to crisp, then remove bacon from pan and scatter it over the chicory.
Return pan to the heat and add flour. Mix well, then gradually pour in 300ml (½ pint) boiling water, mixing well to give a smooth sauce. Add stock cube and season to taste.
Pour sauce over chicory. Cover dish with a lid or foil and place in centre of oven. Cook for 20-30 mins, until the chicory is just tender. Remove from oven and serve immediately. (Not suitable for freezing).
Choose chicory that's white/green at the tips - not starting to go brown. Useful infoWith a flavour like bitter lettuce, chicory is a forced crop, grown in complete darkness, and the lack of sunlight means it's almost white in colour. Once cut, it will start going brown fairly quickly, so only slice it just before it's going to be used.