The inspiration for this recipe takes us to Puglia, a region located in the south of Italy typically know for “la cucina povera” (kitchen of the poor). Chicory is a winter vegetable, easily grown in your backyard. But if you don’t have the luxury of having your own veggie garden, it is relatively inexpensive to buy, and is easily found at most green grocers.
Typically, the Pugliese like to cook their chicory together with a local sausage and serve it over a puree of fava beans. As with all dishes of the Cucina Povera, it is made with low cost tasty ingredients which are fresh and readily available, maintaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredients.
Chicory carries a range of health benefits. It assists with digestion, acts as a powerful booster for the immune system, and can reduce anxiety and stress. However we do suggest you read into all the health at Organic Facts particularly if your are pregnant or breastfeeding.
For this dish, we changed it up from the original dish we experienced in Puglia. But we wanted to ensure it remained a simple and easy recipe. We used a delicious smoked pancetta produced by Adelaide Hills fine food, however a standard smoked bacon will also do. We added sliced potatoes to make it a little more hearty, as we had a few mouths to feed.
The first time we made this, it was for Mum and Dad. They love their home grown greens, and had given us a couple of bunches of home grown chicory. They were pleasantly surprised by the way we had transformed their chicory into a meal. Mum, especially, is a tough critic…so to receive a compliment from her was a big deal.
This is a 4 ingredient dish (excluding the water, oil and seasoning), and remains pretty true to “la cucina povera” as it was simply a combination of ingredients available to me on the day.
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup water
150 grams smoked pancetta or bacon
1 clove garlic crushed
2 potatoes thinly sliced
2 bunches of washed chicory chopped ontp 5-10 cms
Salt & Pepper to Season.
*You will need to use a frying pan that has a lid
In a frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
Add the sliced pancetta / bacon and cook until crispy.
Add the crushed garlic and thinly sliced potatoes, and cook until the potatoes have softened. We sugest you turn down the heat and keep the lid on for approximately 10 minutes.
Move the ingredients in the pan around and add the chicory and water. Apply the lid and cook for 30-40 minutes on low heat. Ensure to stir every few minutes.
Salt and pepper to season.
When the chicory has turned soft, your dish is now ready to serve.