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.  Here’s how:

Serves about 4

Arugula Pesto Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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.

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.

Pesto Chicken in Endive Cup Ingredients:
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:
Toss the chicken breast with the dried cranberries, pesto, and fennel.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Separate the endive into leaves, and spoon the pesto chicken mixture into the endive cups.  Serve and enjoy!

Click here for the printable recipe.

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16 Responses to Cranberry Pesto Chicken in Endive Cups

  1. This sounds completely delicious and looks festive as well. Thank you.

  2. Your description as well as picture has definitely won me over. This would be a perfect dish for entertaining. Love the vibrant fresh ingredients! Well done.

  3. alyssa says:

    Love this! I could just sit on the couch and eat a ton of these for dinner, but they would be totally perfect for entertaining. I bet most of this could be done ahead of time and then put together right before guests arrived. Perfect colors for christmas too! Great recipe!

  4. What a lovely presentation! Great flavor combinations!

  5. daisy says:

    Joanne, this is just the kind of thing I was looking to do for my Christmas Eve cocktail party! Thank you for the wonderful idea. My family thanks you in advance.

  6. It’s like chicken salad but a million times better! Love it.

  7. joy says:

    The recipe looks great. I would never think of doing cranberry and pesto.

  8. This Cranberry Pesto Chicken looks amazing.. and I especially love them in these endive cups. Very inventive and cute for such a wonderful dish. Love this recipe

  9. Cooking Healthy For Me says:

    Oh, my! These sound absolutely delicious! I love that the serving “dish” is edible!

  10. Nydia says:

    This recipe is wonderful, ok, it’s hard to find endives here in Peru, but sometimes it is available in the markets, and it’s great you use dried cranberries, that is the only way we can find that berry.

  11. magicofspice says:

    These are just beautiful! Perfect holiday appetizer 🙂

  12. These look wonderful for an appetizer. I am not a fan of chicken salad, but this looks like a great alternative!

  13. anne says:

    It’s nutritious , yummy and gorgeous to boot ! What more could you ask for ? Really a great appetizer 😉 Yup , I love that edible cup , too 😀

  14. Endive cups are so much fun. Love the manchego cheese in these.

  15. balvinder says:

    I am always looking up ideas for finger foods. These endives with cranberry pesto chicken look beautiful little boats.

  16. I have all the ingredients…someone is coming over later and I was trying to figure what to make as an appy….yeah!

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