There are two reasons that I return to this delicious side dish, adapted from Food and Wine magazine, year after year for holiday meals. First of all, a bright green vegetable is a very welcome sight on a plate that tends to feature a lot of bland colors with the turkey, rolls, dressing, potatoes and onions. And secondly, although everyone loves it, I’m just not going to add fried leeks, bacon and cream to a vegetable dish unless it is a very special occasion. But with the festive season quickly approaching, this is the perfect time to try these luxurious peas and consider adding them to your repertoire.
Note: The leeks can be fried one day ahead of time and kept in a covered container at room temperature. If they lose their crisp, they can be reheated in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.
Baby Peas with Crispy Leeks and Bacon
- 3 Large Leeks (white and tender green parts only, sliced into 1/4 inch rings)
- vegetable oil for frying
- salt and pepper
- 6 slices bacon
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 3 10 ounce boxes frozen baby peas (thawed)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water)
||Wash the leeks well and pat dry. In a large saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium high heat. Reserve 1/2 cup of the leeks and add the remaining to the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. |
||In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown. Cool on paper towels then crumble. |
||Discard about half of the bacon grease then add the remaining 1/2 cups of leeks and the thyme to the pan and and cook over medium heat until leeks are softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, crumbled bacon and the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Discard the thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. transfer the peas to a serving bowl and top with the crispy leeks. |