In America, chicory is not widely known or utilized in the kitchen, its primary use being a coffee additive. Chicory is a perennial tap root, similar to the dandelion, with stems that grow up to 3 feet in height. The leaves can be used in salads, and roots harvested while young and tender can be cooked like carrots or parsnips for vegetable dishes. To create the ground chicory Café Du Monde familiarized me with years ago, the cultivated root is sliced, dried and roasted before being ground. Adding it to coffee produces a darker, drier, more economical cup of joe. Though multiple trips to New Orleans’ Café Du Monde cultivated a nostalgic appreciation for the chicory used in their Café au Lait, I’m more of a coffee purist myself.
I didn’t sip my way through America’s finest small coffee roasters just to blend my favorite single origin finds with chicory, but I did acquire a small box of ground chicory as a gift at one time and it has been sitting neglected in my pantry. But I love how this granola turned out, and everyone I’ve shared it with wants more, so it’s time to share. Now I can reminisce about New Orleans at breakfast while keeping my Metropolis Coffee unadulterated.
Still curious about chicory root?
Sweet Maria’s coffee cupping reviews, where you can find freshly roasted imported chicory for $5/lb instead of the canned/boxed stuff that’s been sitting on your grocer’s shelf for who knows how long.
Botanical.com will tell you all about the plant’s history and uses.
New Orleans Chicory Granola with Toasted Pecans
2 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons molasses
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely ground chicory root
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place oats in a medium mixing bowl. Heat butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan until melted and simmering, then immediately pour over oats. Add chicory, salt and pecans and stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheet pan without stirring if you like some clumps in your granola.
After cooling, store in air-tight container for one week.
Recipe adapted from “Coffee Roasted Carrots with Chicory Granola” at splendidtable.org
Homemade Yogurt – it’s easier than you think!
We go through a lot of yogurt in our house, and prefer plain, organic whole milk yogurt (Stonyfield brand was my preferred choice before I began making my own), which gets expensive. A quart of Stonyfield costs me $4.99 at my local grocer, while organic whole milk costs $3.69 for a half gallon (yielding 2 quarts of yogurt). That’s a savings of $6.29.
I didn’t believe making yogurt would be quite so simple, but if you’re a yogurt lover, give it a try and you’ll probably be as pleasantly surprised as I was. My homemade yogurt tastes sweeter and less acidic than store-bought.
Here’s a wonderful step-by-step guide with illustrations which I used to get started. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes in your kitchen, then 7-8 hours of allowing your yogurt mixture to sit and cultivate before chilling.