Spring vegetable and bacon bake

Serves 4

This is an interesting lunch or even side dish, if you don’t fancy going too heavy on the meat. You can leave out the bacon to make a good vegetarian dish.

Vegetable mix:

  • 100g shelled weight of fresh or frozen peas
  • 100g shelled weight of broad beans or fresh fava beans
  • 1 small leek, cut into rough 2cm dice and washed
  • 100g of other green vegetables such as sugar snaps, runner beans or mange tout
  • 150g spring greens, trimmed and cut into rough 2cm squares
  • 1tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce

  • 120g streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • A good knob of butter
  • 2tsp flour
  • 150ml hot vegetable stock
  • 300ml double cream

for the crust

  • 60g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 20g finely grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1tbsp chopped parsley
  • 30g butter, melted
  1. Cook all the vegetables separately in boiling salted water, drain and refresh in cold water.
  2. Start making the sauce by gently cooking the shallots and bacon in the butter for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the flour and stir well, then gradually add the hot vegetable stock, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the double cream, bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced by about half and thickened. Season and remove from the heat.
  5. Put the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a food processor with the parsley and butter, season and blend for 10-15 seconds, until well mixed.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400ºF.
  7. Mix the vegetables with the sauce and season again if necessary. Transfer to an oven-proof dish and spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly on top.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping is golden.
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