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Belgium Endives au Gratin

6 large endives
100 g (4 oz) of soft bread, crust removed, shredded
3/4 cup milk
150 g (5 oz) of ham, cut in little squares
2 hard-boiled eggs
2/3 cup light cream
3 Tbsp grated gruyere cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt, pepper to taste

Using a sharp, pointed knife remove the hard cone at the base of
each endive. Remove also the not-so-nice-looking outer leaves, if
any. Wash the endives under running water.

Boil salted water in a pot large enough to take the six endives.
Boil the endives for 10 minutes.

Remove from water, let cool a bit and cut them lenghtwise in two
but do not cut completely. The two halves must stay attached to
each other. Drain on paper towels.

Put the soft bread in the milk. Mash the hard-boiled eggs with a
fork. Mix together the ham, the eggs and the bread/milk mixture.
Add salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Mix well.

Butter a gratin dish. Fill each endive with the mixture and put,
one by one, in the gratin dish.

Pour the cream over the endives, and the grated cheese. Add some
little cubes of butter over the dish. Put in a warm 400 F oven for
15 minutes.


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