Ham au gratin with braised chicory

1 hour 30 minutes


Chicory bake

  • 4 chicory
  • butter, for greasing
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 1 handful of cheddar, grated, for sprinkling on top
  • mashed potatoes
  • breadcrumbs, optional

Cheese sauce

  • 140g of plain flour
  • 125g of butter
  • 300ml of whole milk
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • nutmeg


Clean the chicory heads by removing withered leaves and carve a cross in the stalks so they cook faster. Butter a deep pan, bottom and sides and place over a medium heat
Add the chicory and braise, adding a pinch of sugar and turning frequently for the first 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of water. Stuff the baking paper in the pan so it touches the chicory and it completely covers the pan
Leave larger chicory heads for 30 minutes, and 15 minutes for smaller ones
Preheat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small pan. Add flour and stir constantly until you get a crumbly paste that smells a bit like pancakes. Use your nose, if you think it smells like flour you're not done yet and keep stirring
When the roux is done, save some in a container for next time and start adding milk to the roux left in your pan. Keep stirring until you get a silky sauce
Add the cheese and stir. If the sauce is too thick add some extra milk
Season the sauce now with pepper and nutmeg, as the cheese will already give the sauce a salty touch you will need to add less salt
Divide your mashed potatoes over the dishes, or one dish as you prefer. Dry the chicory heads with some kitchen paper. Wrap the chicory with the ham
Arrange the wrapped chicory heads over the mash. Cover with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle some cheese over the dish. Add some breadcrumbs if you like
Add to a preheated oven, under the grill for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and developed a delicious crust