Peas with Bacon & Roasted Red Peppers

Vegetable side dishes (for me) tend to be after thoughts. I always seem to get into a rut when it comes to them.  My go-to sides are usually grilled corn on the cob, squash or zucchini during grilling season and in the winter I usually go with sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts or broccoli. 

So one of my 2012 "food resolutions" is to put more thought into sides.  As I mentioned yesterday, I recently got Katie Lee Joel's The Comfort Table.  The book contains quite a few side dishes that jumped out at me - "Peas with Bacon & Roasted Red Peppers", "Roasted Carrots with Honey & Mint" and "Sesame Corn Saute". 

I guess you could say I've not really had a relationship with peas.  I've never disliked them, but I definitely wouldn't say that I have loved them or even really liked them.  This recipe turned all that around. 

This was simple to make - and prepping the meat and peppers earlier in the day, it all came together super quickly. There was such flavor in this, that I just kept eating it.  The peas have a sweetness to them that plays wonderfully off of the saltiness from the meat and zing from the mustard and roasted red peppers.  The shallot and thyme can also be tasted faintly in the background. 

A quick note:
- I did not have bacon on hand, but did have salami.  I figured why not try it with that.  Though not exactly the same, it worked really well.  Next time, I will make it using turkey bacon in an effort to make it a tad healthier.

Peas with Bacon & Roasted Red Peppers

1/4 pound bacon (about 3 strips), diced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 roasted red pepper (store bought or home made), diced
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, about 7 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve for garnish.

Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, mustard, and thyme. Cook, uncovered, until stock has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the peppers, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook until the peas are warmed through, and the stock has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the bacon.