Field Pea Gratin
Hugh Acheson’s field pea gratin, a French dish made with Southern ingredients, is an ode both to France and to Birmingham, Alabama–based chef Frank Stitt for his skillful melding of French and Southern cuisines. Like many other cooks in the region, Hugh Acheson shells field peas in the summer and freezes them to use in the colder months. But butter beans or Sea Island red peas, an heirloom variety from South Carolina, make great substitutes. This recipe first appeared in our December 2014 issue with the story Down Home In Georgia.
- 6 slices bacon, cut into ¼” pieces
- 2 tsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 smoked ham hock, skin and bone discarded, ham roughly chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 6 cups fresh or frozen field peas, butter beans, or red peas
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 4 eggs
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Heat oven to 375°. Cook bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high until slightly crisp, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add oil to pan; cook onion until golden, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ham hock; cook 3 minutes. Add stock and peas; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until peas are tender and stock is thickened, 35-40 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon, the cream, parsley, chile flakes, eggs, and salt. Transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish; bake until set, 45-50 minutes. Turn oven to broil; broil until top is browned, 1-2 minutes. Garnish with parsley.