This bright green, seasonal dish is the perfect way to use spring’s bounty of vegetables, and because it’s made in a slow cooker, it’s a good project for a Sunday afternoon when you’d like to prepare food to eat later in the week. (If you’re making it ahead, wait until serving to add the fresh mint and basil.) Instead of the oven-baked pancetta, you can use crisp crumbled bacon if you prefer. If you have very tiny potatoes or tomatoes, you can leave them whole.
Spring Vegetable Ragout
- 6 oz. (185 g) new potatoes or small red potatoes
- 3 leeks
- 1 lb. (500 g) fresh baby artichokes, trimmed and halved lengthwise, or
- 1 package (14 oz./440 g) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved lengthwise
- 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 thin slices pancetta
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) fresh or thawed frozen English peas
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1. Quarter or halve the potatoes; each piece should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Trim the dark green tops from the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise, rinse well, then cut crosswise about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. In a slow cooker, combine the leeks, potatoes, the fresh artichoke hearts if using, tomatoes, garlic, onion, wine, stock, oil, vinegar, thyme sprigs, 1/2 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on the low setting for 3 hours. If using frozen artichoke hearts, add them to the slow cooker after 2 hours of cooking, and stir well.
2. Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place the pancetta slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a second sheet of parchment. Top with a second baking sheet of the same size. Bake until the pancetta is golden and crisp, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain.
4. About 5 minutes before the ragout is ready, add the peas, re-cover and cook until heated through. When the ragout is ready, remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the mint and basil. Transfer the vegetables and some of their juices to a warm serving bowl or individual plates. Crumble the pancetta into large pieces and scatter over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Find more fresh and satisfying recipes for your slow cooker in our
The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns.