All about the vegetables

On Sunday my brother and I had a very delicious dinner. If it had been a recipe in a magazine, it would have been in the ‘Summer Roasts’ section because that is undoubtedly what it was even though I’m not a huge fan of the term. Dinner consisted of slow roasted Tuscan style leg of pork with butter beans and braised peas and baby gem lettuce. I love peas anyway but these were delicious. 

The whole meal came about from my brother having produced some rather excellent chicken stock and a need to use it. His suggestion was coq au vin but for whatever reason I wasn’t getting the feeling that ‘yeah, coq au vin would be good for dinner tonight’. So I didn’t make that. 

After he had left house to go for a bike ride in the Surrey hills, I popped over the bridge into Putney to buy the necessary ingredients. 

Ingredients duly purchased, the first thing to deal with was the pork. I removed the skin and then browned the meat all over in a frying pan before coating in olive oil and rolling in a mixture of fresh rosemary, oregano and fennel seeds. It’s pretty easy to be honest and once coated you just shove the whole thing in the oven and forget about it. 

You start off the butter beans by frying some pancetta then adding sliced garlic and celery and cooking until it’s soft. Then you pop the butter beans in along with a slug of white wine, some chicken stock, a couple of sprigs of thyme and plenty of seasoning. Again, they just do their thing for 10 minutes or so, just keep them bubbling away until the liquid has reduced. 

The braised peas and lettuce was equally simple. Boil a couple of shallots, when they’re almost soft pop some frozen peas and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and brown the shallots in a frying pan. Add the peas and the lettuce, a splash of white wine and ladle of chicken stock and then serve. Delicious and would do very well if you had guests. I have to be honest and say that I would have happily forgone the pork and just eaten the beans and the peas. On this occasion, for me, it was all about the vegetables. 



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