4 large belgian endives, bottoms trimmed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (4-pound) chicken, quartered
1/3 cup flour spread on a plate and seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dark ale or beer; preferably belgian
Split the endives down the middle, lengthwise. Carefully cut out the hard white core in the center. Avoid cutting through to the bottom of the endives or they will fall apart. Toss the endives with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and marinate them while you brown the chicken.
In a heavy 5-quart casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil. While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken in flour and shake off any excess. Begin by adding the dark leg parts to the casserole and sauté, turning on occasion for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden. Remove the pieces to a separate bowl and brown the remaining breast parts in the same way.
Discard the oil in the casserole, but keep the drippings. Add the butter and melt it over medium heat. When the butter is golden brown, add the endives and sprinkle the sugar over the halves. Sauté over medium-high heat, turning on occasion, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and glistening. Add any remaining lemon juice the endives have marinated in, along with the minced onion and sauté, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes or until softened.
Set the browned chicken leg parts over the endives, including any juices the chicken has given off in the bowl and add the water and beer. In the saucepan, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, over very low heat for 20 minutes, turning the legs once. Add the breast parts, pressing the chicken into the endives as much as possible, cover and continue to simmer gently for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Remove the chicken and endives from the pot to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm as you finish the sauce. Boil the liquid down until 1 cup remains; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chicken with endives and sauce spooned over the top.