Peas with crispy leeks & bacon

Pureness with the best of intentions….Do you ever have those days where you wake up, have a killer workout, uber healthy breakfast and you wanna stand up like a statue and scream “woohoo I am the epitome of health!” and swear to remain judicious throughout the day…until….ooooh! creamy onion quiche, cheeses galore, thick warm oozy pizza…after indulging in that you swear to get back into it again and have lettuce for dinner until oh, no but oh, yes… cupcakes, mousse, pudding! Yes, we all have those days. Sometimes far too often. Those days that start off wholesome, unrefined, and end up with just a little bit (okay, a lot) of indulgence? Sometimes those days are good. Let’s get real, those days are necessary.

If there was ever a way to take something that’s pure and adulterate it with fatty goodness, it is this dish. Pure, simple innocent peas are simmered in heavy cream, topped with deep fried leeks, and the wondrousness that is salty pork fat: bacon. To say these additions take the dish over the edge would be an understatement. It’s just delicious and indulgent. It’s for those days. My mom makes this dish every year, and I’m so thankful that she does.

Life wouldn’t be fun if it was all strict and stringent all the time. Although I’m usually on my best game, sometimes I’m not, and that’s reality. And I like it that way. Hopefully, with a side of these peas. And while we’re at it, some cake, too.

Peas with crispy leeks & bacon

Adapted from Food & Wine

Serves 12 as a side

3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings

Vegetable oil, for frying

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 slices thick-cut bacon

4 thyme sprigs

1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

3/4 cup heavy cream

Three 10-ounce boxes frozen baby peas, thawed

1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Wash the leeks well and pat dry. In a large saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Add all but 1/2 cup of the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to a paper towel–lined plate. Discard the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of leeks and the thyme to the fat in the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until the leeks are softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and cook over moderate heat until it is reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook over moderately high heat until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, crumbled bacon and the remaining 1/2 cup of 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 to 4 minutes. Transfer the peas to a bowl and top with the crispy leeks just before serving.

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