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I like using endive in this way instead of the more traditional "stamppot" (very common Dutch meal consisting of mashed potatoes and some vegetable). The pancakes go very well with the ever so slightly bitter and sweet filling and slightly sour topping. Note that the "endive" used here is the green lettuce-like vegetable, not Belgian endive or one of the other variants that are mostly white (their taste is much more bitter). Also note that most measurements should be reasonably accurate (they are what I used), except for the flour, milk and herbs/spices, so pay special attention to the recipe and your own taste in those cases.
- 120 g flour (approximately, see recipe)
- 200 ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 500 g ground beef
- 250 g bacon, cubed
- 400 g endive (the green lettuce-like vegetable, if unavailable spinach, kale or something along those lines will p)
- 1⁄2-1 apple
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 -4 teaspoons cumin (see recipe)
- 1 -2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- mixed Italian herbs (basil, oregano, etc.)
- salt & pepper
- 150 g fromage frais ("kwark" in Dutch, it should be slightly sour and thick enough to stay in its container when held ups)
- 70 g tomato paste, concentrated 30% (if you substitute tomatoes, make sure you puree and thicken them first)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh)
- 20 g butter
- 20 g flour
- 100 ml milk
- Prepare the pancake batter by thoroughly mixing (with a blender or mixer for example) the ingredients (in a container which can be used to pour it onto a pan). You should end up with 300-400ml of slightly yellowish batter with the consistency of cream (like crêpe batter).
- Let the batter rest while preparing the filling and topping. Note that this recipe calls for a bit more egg than usual so the pancakes end up very light and firm (but a bit eggy to eat by themselves).
- Take a pan just large enough to hold the bacon, apple and raisins and start frying the bacon over low heat with some of the coriander, cumin and a bay leave.
- Take a second pan for the ground meat and, assuming the meat is defrosted, sauté the onion (and slightly crushed pepper if you are using whole pepper) lightly. Add the rest of the coriander and cumin, as well as a bay leave (you should be able to taste the cumin quite clearly, if not, add more, or if in doubt wait till the endive has been added).
- Add the ground meat to the onion and sauté it over moderate heat until it is a nice brown/grey. You can also add the italian herbs at this point (be moderate, do not let them overpower the dish).
- Whenever a lot of fluid has accumulated in the pan with the bacon, transfer the fluid to the pan with the ground meat (to prevent the bacon from being boiled, letting it get nice and crisp).
- While browning the ground meat and adding the endive (see the next step) you should prepare the apple (and make sure the raisins are standby). The apple should be skinned, seeded and cut into small pieces (I used pieces of approximately 5x5x1 mm, but they could have been a bit bigger for a slightly firmer texture).
- Once the ground meat has been browned you should add the endive in batches (it shrinks enormously), stirring it through the ground meat and onion mixture over moderate heat. Once all the endive has been added you should still be able to taste the cumin, if not, add a bit more at this point.
- Stir the apple and raisins through the bacon and fry them slightly (the apple should not get really mushy, but the raisins should feel a bit softer and preferrably very slightly browned). Add the bacon/apple/raisin mixture to the ground meat/endive filling and stir. Now set aside the filling (covered).
- For the topping, melt the butter in a pan and lightly fry the finely chopped onion in the butter. Then add the flour until the flour/butter mixture has the consistency of a thick paste (like when making a béchamel sauce). All over a low heat (you should NOT let it burn or even brown a little).
- Now mix in some milk repeatedly until the sauce is smooth (but still reasonably thick) and increase the heat a bit until it boils (but still do not let it burn or brown).
- Turn down the heat a bit again and mix in the tomato paste and fromage frais/kwark (or whatever you substituted). Add the nutmeg and mix in more milk until the sauce is still thick, about the consistency of thick yoghurt (pourable but not runny). The result should be orange in colour. Set it aside.
- Get the pancake batter and a plate for the finished pancakes ready (make sure you can easily access the batter while making the pancakes).
- Now put a pan (preferrably teflon with a low rim, approximately 30cm in diameter, I use one with a very thin bottom so I have very direct control over the temperature) over moderate heat and add a small amount of fat (butter/oil, no olive oil).
- The pan should be hot enough to make the batter solidify almost instantly on the bottom, but not so hot that it will easily burn. Traditionally the first pancake will turn out bad, so it is a good idea to make slightly more batter than strictly necessary and use the first pancake to test out the pan.
- To make the pancakes, spread about 75-100 ml per pancake over the pan (pour it out as evenly as possible and then tilt the pan to let the batter spread evenly over the pan). The pancakes should be approximately 30cm in diameter and 1-2mm thick.
- Wait till the top of the pancake is dry (this should take approximately 30 seconds), then start to loosen the sides carefully with a spatula (the bottom should be loose, if not you should either wait a bit or it has stuck to the pan, in which case you should try to carefully loosen it). When loose, slide the pancake onto the plate standing by (the pancake should be firm enough to allow this to be done relatively easily), the bottom of the pancake should very slightly browned.
- Get out a nice ovenproof dish large enough to contain the pancakes (four if you followed the original measurements), but not much more. Clean and grease the dish. Preheat the oven.
- Now put some of the filling (about a quarter if you made four pancakes) on a pancake in strip of about 5-10cm wide and slightly less than 30cm long (about a cm thick). Fold the empty sides of the pancake over the middle to form a roll containing the filling and carefully put it in the dish (with the fold on the bottom so it won't open and the pancake completely covers its filling). Repeat until you run out of pancakes (I had a small amount of filling left at the end, which I used to fill up the empty space in the dish).
- Pour the topping as evenly as possible over the pancakes. Optionally you could pour only a small amount of topping over the middle of the pancakes, leaving them partially uncovered.
- Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes. The topping should be very slightly browned and look a bit glazed.