This lovely chicory, cheese and bacon starter is great for kicking off a simple and rustic dinner party.
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1 tablespoon olive oil
110g smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
4 heads chicory, split lengthways
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
200ml full fat milk
110g grated lightly smoked cheese
1/2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 pinch paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
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Method Prep:10min › Cook:20min › Ready in:30min
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook and stir the bacon until brown. Meanwhile, steam the chicory over a pan of boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes, just until tender, then remove and arrange in the base of an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle in the cooked bacon, including any oils from the pan, over the chicory.
In a saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour and cook for 1 minute until straw coloured. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Add the cheese, mustard and the paprika. Season and pour over the chicory.
Put the dish under the grill for 6 to 8 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cheese sauce bubbling. Remove from the grill and serve.