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FrancoFun Food! Belgium

  • March 3 at 5:30 p.m.

  • Free admission

  • Online via Zoom • In English

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Last year we learned how to make the famous galette de Mons, a euro version of the waffle… This year Cheffe Muriel returns with the ultimate classic and the perfect comfort food for a grey and rainy day in le pays plat : les chicons au gratin! This is a Belgian endive or a chicon (or witloof) and for this recipe it is braised then rolled with ham slices and drowned in cheesy béchamel.

Stay after the demonstration and ask the team from la Belgique about anything Belgian from beer to the monarchy to Tintin… and how it is possible to speak three languages in such a small country!

With Stephano Smars, Trade Commissioner for Wallonia (Belgium) Export-Investment Agency in Chicago, Karine Nguyen, Cultural Counselor for Wallonie-Bruxelles International in New York, Paul Van Halteren, Honorary Consul of Belgium in Chicago and Cheffe Muriel Libert.

Les chicons au gratin

4 medium endives
8 slices of ham (off the bone preferred)
½ cup gruyere cheese (for the crust)
Bread crumbs
Salt, pepper
Optional: 2 garlic cloves, fresh rosemary sprigs

For the Mornay sauce:
2 tbs salted butter
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
salt, pepper, nutmeg
¾ cup grated Emmental or Gruyere

Baking dish
Skillet or cast iron pan
Rubber spatula


  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a thick paste forms.
  2. Switch to a whisk, and add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Bring to a slow boil, and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese, pepper and nutmeg. Adjust seasoning if needed (salt) and set aside.
  3. Cut the chicons in half and braise them in the cast iron pan until brown and tender (30 minutes).
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F (200°C)
  5. Wrap each endive in a slice of ham and place them in a baking dish, side by side.
  6. Cover with the Mornay sauce and sprinkle with the extra gruyere and bread crumbs. Add a little of olive oil or butter for a nicer crust.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, and finish with 2-3 minutes under the broiler. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Bon appétit!

What is la Francophonie?

La Francophonie is a concept which was born of an understanding and appreciation of the fact that the French language is spoken by 300 million people across 5 continents. It is a celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity, promoting democracy, human rights and peace.

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) is the entity which embodies the values of la Francophonie, seeking to promote the French language, francophone culture, as well as developing economic cooperations among its 88 member states and governments.

The Alliance Française de Chicago shares this mission; as a French-speaking organisation, we seek to engage as many individuals as possible with the French language and cultures of francophone nations.

La Francophonie est née de la compréhension et de l’appréciation du fait que la langue française est parlée par 300 millions de personnes sur les 5 continents. C’est une célébration de la diversité linguistique et culturelle, qui fait la promotion de la démocratie, des droits de l’homme et de la paix.

L’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) est l’entité qui incarne les valeurs de la Francophonie, cherchant à promouvoir la langue française, la culture francophone, ainsi qu’à développer les coopérations économiques entre ses 88 États et gouvernements membres.

L’Alliance française de Chicago partage cette mission ; en tant qu’organisation francophone, nous cherchons à faire participer le plus grand nombre possible de personnes à la langue française et aux cultures des nations francophones.

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