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When a French master chef talks, you listen. Well, I'd listen to anything Jacques Pépin has to say, to be honest, but when his tip involves my favorite kitchen lifesaver—frozen vegetables!—I'd give him my undivided attention.
I'm already a huge advocate for keeping a smartly stocked freezer, especially with the demands of busy work weeks and family life. At any given moment, I'll have at least one or two bags of trusty frozen peas to liven up all manner of weeknight meals. Thrown into pasta, risotto, or rice? Absolutely. But featured in their own spotlight dish? I hadn't thought of it.
“I love frozen baby peas, which are the smallest, sweetest peas," Pepin explains in his newest cookbook, Jacques Pépin Poulets & Légumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipes, out today. (Did you know this legendary chef is an artist, too? All of the illustrations you see are his own!) "Frozen artichokes are another favorite. I always keep both on hand, so I can put this dish together whenever I have to feed unexpected guests.”
We have a feeling his unexpected guests get fed a lot more impressively than ours, but no matter: The point is, his recipe for the humbly named Artichoke Hearts and Peas is, unsurprisingly, très délicieux. It even managed to make a pea lover out of a former pea hater:
"I have never been a fan of peas—you could call it a phobia," admits Food52's Associate Editor Nikkitha Bakshani. "When I was young, my mom tasked me with peeling them from the pods, and I saw way too many caterpillars crawl out of there. And the taste? Meh! These frozen peas were excellent, though. The sauce was so flavorful; it did sort of remind me of the taste of buttery, garlicky French escargot, minus the snails."
No butter or snails to speak of here, but this dish is plenty savory, with a garlic- and herb-filled sauce you'll love sopping up with crusty hunks of bread. Enjoy it alongside spring roasts or simply on its own. Just don't overcook the peas, so you can preserve their irresistible pop.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock, low-sodium canned chicken broth, or water
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh savory or thyme
- 1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts
- 1 10-ounce package frozen baby peas
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
What are your favorite frozen veggies? Share them with us below!