Baby Peas with Crispy Leeks and Bacon

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

Serves 10
By author Margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

1. 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.
2. In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown. Cool on paper towels then crumble.
3. 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.

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