07 February 2007
what's cooking wednesday: chicory and beans

Welcome to another edition of What's Cooking Wednesday!

Today's dish is chicory and beans. And for those of you who don't like beans, I apologize in advance. I'm also sorry for those who have never tried chicory, because it is divine. Note that we eat this as a somewhat light supper, so there's never an accompanying meat or other vegetable for us.

Many people know that chicory has been used in place of coffee, so maybe that doesn't exactly make it sound inviting as a vegetable. Oh, but it is. Especially the wild kind, which is harvested throughout the winter down here. Think escarole and endive, and you're on your way to understanding how chicory can be used. So, on that note, if you don't have chicory, you can substitute members of the chicory family.

Chicory and Beans

I use cannellini beans, and I'm not going to lie to you, P's mom usually does the dirty work here. I could if pressed, but to steer you on your way, I've found a good page that describes the soaking and cooking process. Otherwise, just buy some cans of the beans ready to add to the chicory once it's cooked--this works too.

For this recipe, you'll need about two to three cans of beans for one fist-sized bunch of fresh chicory. I know the measurements aren't exact, but basically get enough for how ever many people you're making the dish for, and you'll be fine.

Other ingredients:

6 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 medium-sized peperoncino (hot pepper)
Salt to taste

Clean the chicory and place in boiling, salted water. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside while you heat up olive oil (you need to be generous here, as this is mainly where the greens pick up flavor) on medium heat.

Add the garlic and peperoncino and after about two minutes, add the chicory and some salt. Stir well and let this cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the oil has been mostly absorbed.

At this point, add the beans, mixing them in well with the chicory. Also add some more salt here. Let this mixture cook for another 15-20 minutes, and taste test for salt level as you may need to add more. I'm not a big salt eater, but this dish seems to require quite a bit to get the maximum flavor.

Serve the dish hot with fresh oil drizzled on top. Crusty Italian bread is a must.

Buon appetito!

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Blogger Jeff Gromen said...

I'm going to have to try this as there seems to be tons of chicory at the market and I need some new ways to make it! Also it passes my test. It's easy to make and I like ALL the ingredients!


Blogger Annika said...

I bet it's good but... sorry sweetheart but it looks awful! :(

That being said, lots of food look bad but taste heavenly. I guess that all the food can't be picturesque! :D

Blogger Becslifeonline said...

I've never tried chicory. Can I get it in Wales do you think? Probably, but I've never seen it. Maybe that's just because I haven't been looking for it though.

Blogger Giulia said...

I'd gladly eat a plate of anything that looks like slop and tastes delicious, then to have to eat a plate of something that looks delicious but tastes horrible.

I think it's so much more pleasant to be surprised at how wonderful something can taste while looking so bad as opposed to getting so excited at how something "looks" so yummy only to be disappointed at how it tastes.

I usually make this dish with escarole. Only difference is that I like to add Gaeda or even those black cured olives to mine.

Blogger stefanie said...

I'm with Annika, but I'm trying to keep an open mind and trust you when you say it's tasty. ;-)

Adding this to my things to try. I have never cooked with chicory. Sounds delicious.

Blogger Shan said...

Thanks for the recipe. I didn't realize chicory was something you could cook with.

Blogger Gil said...

Another dish from my childhood. My Father loved all kinds of greens: mustard, chickory, collards, etc. and always seemed to find some while shopping.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

finally i know what the name of that bitter stuff is in english that they eat here all the time!! Not a great fan of chicory, but then again have never tried it in a recipe like that (here it is boiled/ over boiled, salted oiled and served cold - yeach!!). Vanessa in MEssina

Blogger Antonella said...

You eat it with nothing else...except bread, right? ;-)

Blogger sognatrice said...

Oh come on, can greens and beans really look good together when they aren't very pretty individually? Trust me; this is good. And I'm making it again today :)

Oh, and Antonella, of course you eat it with bread (don't we eat everything with bread?)--that's in the last line of the recipe :)

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