What foods did you hate as a child? I don’t mean foods that you vaguely disliked, that made you groan and complain to your mother until you sank your fork in and decided it wasn’t so bad after all. I’m talking about foods that you just couldn’t bring yourself to put in your mouth, that made you shudder and gave you goosebumps and made you break out into a sweat. Does anything come to mind? For me, it was endives.
I loathed endives, despised them with a passion. My mother made them regularly with vinaigrette as a salad. Knowing I would be forced to eat a few bites before being excused from the table would ruin the entire meal. The endives were crisp, fresh and bitter, not the kind of thing that went down easy. The memory of those choked down endive bites lingered with me into adulthood, and while I’ll happily eat Rocky Mountain oysters (otherwise known as cowboy caviar or fried cattle testicles), Seaweed Salad, and sea cucumber,I still balk at endives.
So when I received a package of gorgeous endives from California courtesy of the California endives board, I was tempted to indulge the little kid in me and simply throw them out. But how could I throw out such beautiful vegetables? Instead, I decided to act my age, and give endives another try.
I chopped them up and sauteed them with some potatoes and onion to create a lovely cream of endive soup. The endives gave the soup a subtle bitterness, just a hint really, that rounded out the comfort food components of the caramelized onion and creamy potatoes. It was the kind of soup that disappears, that makes you reach for a second bowl, and that fills you up and satisfies you at your very core. It was the kind of soup that leaves you craving more, and I credit all of that to the endives.
2012 has become the year of giving unfamiliar vegetables another chance, first I made a baconized peace with Brussels sprouts, and now I am raving about endives. While I’m not sure that I’m ready to try my mother’s endive salad yet, I can’t wait to try this Bacon, Gruyere and Endive Quiche as well as many other baked, roasted, and grilled endive recipes at endives.com. Our dinners have been nothing short of thrilling this winter, thanks to all these exciting new veggies. Discarding childhood pickiness is definitely a perk of growing old!
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 3 Endives, chopped coarsely
- 1 sweet onion, chopped coarsely
- 2 large or 5 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- ¼ cups of heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt.
- Add the chopped endives and onion. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the potatoes and saute for another 4-5 minutes, to get the potatoes a little caramelized.
- Add the chicken stock and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat back to medium to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Test to see that the potatoes are cooked through by piercing one with a fork or a knife. It should easily penetrate. If the potatoes are still a little tough, simmer for another 5-10 minutes. You don't want chunks of undercooked potato in your soup.
- Add the heavy cream and simmer for another 5 minutes to mellow out the heavy cream and blend the flavors.
- Puree the soup with a hand blender or by pouring into a blender. Try to puree it for as short a time as possible. Potatoes have gluten that is activated by too much blending and can make the soup gummy.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.