Peas have usually been an afterthought for me. I always have a bag of frozen peas in the freezer that I use when I need to add a splash of colour to my food ( e.g. fried rice and pasta dishes), or when I have no other fresh vegetables on hand and peas are the closest substitute. I've never really considered cooking a dish of peas before, because, really, don't you just toss them with butter, salt and pepper and serve them as a side? Or mash them up and make mushy peas? Well, I came across some recipes for "Petits pois à la Française", which I thought sounded very.....French and exotic! It means French-style baby peas, usually cooked with butter, onions, stock, lettuce and sometimes bacon. It sounds like a simple dish, but it tastes absolutely amazing! I didn't have any lettuce, and so I substituted it with brussel sprouts instead (love love love!) which turned out so perfect especially with the butter and bacon combination.
Look at these delicious little baby peas...and those caramelized brussel sprouts which are so sweet and tender....
I served these peas with some chicken that I flat-roasted with butter, lemon, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Doesn't that look yummy? :-)
Here are more pea and brussel sprout pics again. Don't they look so fresh and delicious? Wait till you taste them....all that bacon and buttery goodness.
The peas should be cooked until they are just tender, leaving it with a slightly reduced sauce that keeps the peas moist, juicy and tasty.
Here's Mr Butterfly-Chook again! I just tossed in some parboiled potatoes that I seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted them with the chicken during the last half hour of cooking.
The recipe for these french-style peas with brussel sprouts is quick and easy, cheap and cheerful. I used a 500g (1/2 pound) bag of peas for this and it made quite a substantial amount that could probably serve a small village. Nevertheless, they tasted so good, especially with that chicken, that I was too happy to have leftovers to be savoured over the next few days. Enough said for now, please find the recipes below, and enjoy them!
200g (7oz) bacon, diced
80g (5 tbsp) butter
250g (8oz) brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthways
4-6 scallions, white part only, chopped
450g (1 lb) or 4 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
3/4 cup chicken stock (or more if necessary)
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large non-stick pan, fry the bacon over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until most of the fat has been rendered. Transfer the bacon to a plate and leave about 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan (discard the rest of the fat, or leave it if you prefer).
- Place half of the butter in the pan on high heat and arrange the brussel sprouts in it, cut side down. Leave it to sear in the pan for about 3 minutes until the bottoms are slightly charred. Flip the sprouts over and sear the other side.
- Push the sprouts to the side of the pan and add the remaining butter. Fry the scallions for 2 minutes until softened.
- Add the bacon from step 1 above. Pour in half of the stock and bring to a simmer, mixing the brussel sprouts in. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3-4 minutes until brussel sprouts are almost tender.
- Add the peas and the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Stir to mix the peas with the bacon and stock, then cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes until peas are tender, and the stock/sauce slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favourite roasts.
Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
1.5kg (3 lb) free-range chicken
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp butter, sliced
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
8-10 parboiled baby potatoes (optional), tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 210C (410F). Line a large roasting tin with non-stick baking paper.
- To butterfly the chicken, cut the chicken in half along the backbone and flatten it. Place the sliced butter under the chicken skin along the leg/thigh.
- Rub the chicken all over (top and bottom, inside and out) with olive oil, followed by salt and pepper. Place on the baking tray.
- Take the 2 ends of the sliced lemon and place it under the cavity of the chicken (with cut-side of lemon up) along with the garlic cloves, one rosemary sprig and one thyme sprig.
- Pull off the rosemary leaves from the other sprig and sprinkle over the top of the chicken. Arrange the rest of the lemon slices over the chicken, followed by the rest of the thyme.
- Roast the chicken for 50 minutes or until cooked and skin is golden brown and crisp. During the last half hour of baking, toss the parboiled potatoes into the roasting tin and continue roasting until cooked. Mix the potatoes around with the pan juices before serving.