Cranberry Pesto Chicken in Endive Cups


There’s something so satisfying about picking up one of these with your fingers, a big heapful of tender chicken mixed with arugula pesto, dried cranberries, and julienned fennel, all cradled into a crisp Belgian endive cup.  The endive is just so darned crisp and refreshing, and pairs really well with the bold flavors of the chicken mixture.

Cranberry Pesto Chicken in Endive Cups

Ingredients:

For the arugula pesto:

  • 2 cups packed arugula
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese (or parmigiano reggiano)

For the endive cups:

  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed (about 1 lb uncooked chicken breast should yield about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup arugula pesto (from recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup thinly julienned fennel
  • 1 or 2 belgian endive heads (you need about 1/2 lb)

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and set up a bowl of ice water. Place the arugula in a strainer and immerse it into the boiling water for 15 seconds. Immediately remove the arugula and place in the ice water for 10 seconds, to stop the cooking process. Drain and squeeze all the excess water from the arugula leaves.
  2. Place the blanched arugula, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, pine nuts, and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until combined. Add the manchego cheese, and pulse to combine. Taste to check for seasoning.
  3. To assemble the cups, toss the chicken breast with the dried cranberries, pesto, and fennel. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  4. Separate the endive into leaves, and spoon the pesto chicken mixture into the endive cups. Serve and enjoy!
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