In celebration of soup season, we’ve partnered with Progresso to share recipes that’ll keep you (and your bowlful) warm during the winter months.
It feels like Christmas morning in our empty new kitchen. Like an anxious child, I’m tearing through boxes that have been stored up for months. (I know it’s January, but that’s besides the point.)
In a matter of moments, the winter white room begins to take on a life of its own as copper and silver trays, amber glass bottles filled with spices and salts, countless mason jars, slicked cast-iron skillets, brass pots, and nicked wood cutting boards settle into their proper places.
Slowly but surely, the dust begins to settle as I relax into the house we have been renovating for the past six months. Michael and I left a loft in Franklin, Tennessee for a lovely fixer-upper in the heart of Nashville. The house has been stripped down to the studs, and finally, after many months of blood, sweat, and tears, it’s beginning to feel like a home.
The kitchen is set up just in time as a blizzard is in the forecast to barrel through Nashville. Whenever you live in the South and snowfall is predicted, you equip yourself with essentials, which usually come in the form of bread and milk. In a storm, one thing is certain: We must eat.
The first click-click-click of the gas range seems to blow away any cobwebs. Armed with a beloved and dearly missed knife, I begin ripping through the centers of crisp white and pale green Belgian endive, also known as winter’s white gold, while deep green rosemary sprigs and pink papery jackets from purple garlic litter my table.
Pulling out my cast-iron skillet is like reuniting with an old, loyal friend: No matter how much time has passed between the two of you, it’s like no time has passed at all. The endive starts to char in the skillet, and the bitter, crisp leaves sweeten and soften like silk petals. Lentil soup, a good companion to the endive, simmers away in a small copper pot on the back burner. In less than 30 minutes, I enjoy my first meal in my snow-covered home.
And while this is purely a vegetarian dish, the endive takes on a “meaty” quality with the help of the rosemary and garlic. Spoon a little of the leftover cream from the endive into whatever soup is on the stove and you’ll get added richness—and it also ties the two dishes together. If by chance you have any leftover endive, toss it in an omelet or with pasta the next day. You could also create another soup by sweating onions, garlic, and the braised endive in a pot, adding stock and seasoning, and simmering it for 20 minutes.
And that’s is what I call home cooking: Picking up loose ends from one dish and tying them together with the next, forming an everlasting meal.
Buttery Braised Belgian Endive
tablespoons unsalted butter
cup heavy whipping cream
garlic clove, thinly sliced
Sea salt and black pepper, to season
teaspoons lemon juice