Belgian endive soup is a flavorful and comforting dish that highlights the unique taste of Belgian endives. The subtle bitterness of Belgian endives is balanced with rich savory flavors creating a well-rounded flavor profile. The distinctive taste of this Belgian endive soup recipe makes it not only a great soup to serve at a formal or festive occasion but it is also great to serve as an easy lunch or weeknight meal. In fact, this soup is perfect to serve anywhere, anytime.
What are endives?
Belgian endive or chicory, also known as ‘chicons’ in French and ‘witlof’ or ‘witloof’ in Dutch is a leafy cone shaped vegetable. The name ‘witloof’ or ‘witlof’ in Dutch literally means ‘white leaf’ in English referring to the white-cream color of the vegetable itself. Although available all-year-round, Belgian endives reach their peak quality during the northern fall and winter months from November to April. Throughout this period they surely become a dietary staple vegetable for many Belgians and Dutch.
Belgian endives stand out for their versatility in the kitchen as they can easily be used in a whole range of dishes. Whether you prefer them raw in salads, cooked through braising or grilling, used as appetizer cups, or blended into soups, they effortlessly adapt to various culinary preparations. Also try my other endive soup recipe with apple and curry.
Belgian endive soup ingredients
For this soup made with Belgian endives, just a handful of ingredients are used. The key will be to find good quality Belgian endives or chicory to make this bowl of creamy goodness.
- Belgian endives: Look for a pale white colored head that feels firm and dense without any brown markings. Remove the outer leaves with brown spots, if there are any.
- Garlic and onion: The aromatic base for this soup. A single standard yellow onion with one or two cloves of garlic is all you need.
- Potatoes: Use a starchy type of potato such as Russets. Starchy potatoes break down easily while cooking and are used as a thickening agent to make this soup more creamy (without adding any cream).
- Broth: Use either chicken or vegetable broth according to personal preference.
- Butter: To sauté the vegetables before adding the broth. With endives butter has preference, but you can use olive oil or any other oil if you like.
- Seasoning: A bay leaf, salt and pepper is all this soup needs for seasoning. As this is a white colored soup use white pepper instead of black pepper.
- Spring onions: For garnish use finely chopped spring onions to add some extra crunch, taste and color.
How to clean Belgian endives
Belgian endives are very simple to clean as they usually don’t need or hardly need any rinsing or washing. The endives you buy in the store are generally pre-cleaned.
- Rinse the endive heads briefly under running water with the thinner top facing down. But again, this is often optional.
- Remove any outer leaves that are wilted or discolored.
- Trim the brown bottom of the endive head.
- Cut the endives lengthwise in half and with a sharp knife remove the hard inner core at the bottom of the head. This is the very bitter part of the endive which can be rather unpleasant to eat.
These are all the steps to follow for how to clean endives and prepare the vegetable for further use depending on the dish you’re making.
What do endives taste like?
Belgian endives have a unique and distinctive taste that combines bitterness and sweetness. Some endives will have a more bitter taste than others depending on how they were grown. There has also been an evolution over the years where farmers have adjusted the crop to the preferred taste (sweet over bitter) by selecting the right seeds to grow.
At the bottom of each endive head is a harder inner core which is more bitter than the soft leaves. Removing this hard inner part will also make the endive taste less bitter. All in all, cooking endives reduces bitterness and so this Belgian endive soup will still have the unique bitter flavor but with a smooth and sweet creaminess.
How to make this soup
This soup with Belgian endives comes together in just a few simple steps:
- Cut the vegetables: Clean the endives as described above (if necessary) and roughly chop into pieces. Peel the potatoes and cut into small equally sized cubes. Peel and finely dice the garlic and onion.
- Sauté the vegetables: Melt butter, or add any oil of choice, in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Then add the potatoes, garlic and Belgian endives and cook for a few more minutes until fragrant and the vegetables start to soften.
- Make the soup: Pour in the broth, add the bay leaf and a pinch of white pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Let the soup simmer for around 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Mix the soup: Remove the soup pot from the heat. Don’t forget to first remove the bay leaf, then blend to a smooth texture with an immersion or handheld mixer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.
- Serve and garnish: Serve the soup hot and garnish with finely chopped spring onions.
How to store
This Belgian endive soup is great to make ahead and can be refrigerated for up to four days. After cooking, let it cool to room temperature, transfer it to a sealed container and refrigerate.
You also have the option to freeze the soup. After allowing it to cool, divide it into smaller portions in freezer-safe containers and store it in the freezer for up to three months.
When ready to enjoy, reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Alternatively, you can reheat smaller portions in the microwave.
More Belgian endive recipes to try
If you love Belgian endives, here are some recipes to try using this wonderful vegetable:
- Belgian endive salad with egg
- Salad with Belgian endives, apple, ham and feta cheese
- Creamy pasta with Belgian endives and smoked trout
More creamy soup recipes to try
If you are a soup lover like me, be sure to check out all my soup recipes here or go straight to some of my recommended favorites:
- Sweet potato soup with crispy chorizo
- Eggplant soup with chickpeas
- Celeriac soup with pecans
- Yellow pepper soup with coconut and curry
- Fennel soup with zucchini and star anise
Belgian endive soup
- 1 pound (or 500 grams) Belgian endive spears
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ⅔ cups (or 150 grams) potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 4½ cups (or 1 litre) vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- kosher salt to taste
- white pepper to taste
- 1 spring onion finely chopped
- Rinse the endives, trim off the base and cut lengthwise in half. Remove the hard inner core at the bottom and chop coarsely into pieces.
- Melt butter in a large soup pot and sauté the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Add the potatoes, garlic and chopped Belgian endives. Cook for 5 minutes until they start to soften.
- Pour in the broth and add the bay leaves and a pinch of pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Take the pot from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Mix the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more liquid if the soup is too thick.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with finely chopped spring onion as garnish.
- Garnish: Garnish this soup with either spring onion, green onion or parsley.
- Leftovers: Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or store in the freezer in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months maintaining correct freezer temperatures for the long term freezing of foods.