Greens add variety to meaty favourites

A tasty bacon, leek and potato gratin
A tasty bacon, leek and potato gratin
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Getting the most out of greens to make a tasty meal has usually been the domain of vegetarians.

But now meat eaters are being urged to bring vegetables to the forefront of their cooking to add variety.

Getting creative with the huge variety of greens – and oranges, reds, yellows and purples – is the goal of the Meat and 10 Veg campaign from organic food producer Riverford.

‘The idea is that it’s better to use less meat but really good quality stuff that has been ethically produced. Not only are you considering animal welfare but it tastes better too.

‘And it’s probably a good idea to cut out a bit of red meat anyway,’ says Jim Harbridge, who holds the Riverford franchise in the Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Chichester areas, delivering boxes of food.

Of course nobody’s recommending home cooks try to include 10 types of veg in each dish. But Jim says it should be easy to substitute some of the meat content with the green stuff.

‘It’s really easy to get stuck in the routine of using the same quantity of meat in the same dishes. However, by replacing, say, a third of the mince in spaghetti Bolognese with a variety of tasty, colourful veg, you still get a really flavourful, satisfying meal.’

And he adds: ‘It makes things more interesting. No matter how much you love a meal it can get a bit boring, but just trying a couple of different vegetables varies it a bit. It’s about paying attention to the veg rather than it being an after-thought.’

To get started, why not try the recipe below from Riverford Field Kitchen.

Satisfyingly good bacon, leek and potato gratin

(Serves 6)

· Ingredients

2 leeks, sliced

1 knob of butter

100g bacon, cooked and chopped

300ml double cream

100ml milk

2 garlic cloves, crushed

800g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3mm thick slices

1-2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan sea salt and black pepper

· Method

1. Sweat the leeks in butter for 10 minutes, then add the bacon and garlic.

2.Add the cream and milk and bring to the boil.

3. Season and mix in the potatoes. Transfer to a gratin dish.

4. Cover with foil and bake at 180°C for about 50 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

5. Remove the foil, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown.